& Tributes

(304) 263-8896
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Brown Funeral Home

327 West King St., Martinsburg, WV 25401

Jefferson Chapel of Brown Funeral Homes

114 N. Mildred St., Ranson, WV 25438

Frequently Asked Questions

It's important to recognize that funerals and memorial ceremonies are for the living ... for those who are affected by the loss of a loved one. It is through the funeral process that a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.

A funeral is similar to other ceremonies in our lives. Like a graduation ceremony, a wedding, a baptism, and a bar mitzvah, a funeral is a rite of passage by which we recognize an important event that distinguishes our lives.

The funeral declares that a death has occurred. It celebrates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.

The gathering of family and friends for a time of sharing and funeral service helps to provide emotional support so needed at this time. This will help those who grieve to face the reality of death, and consequently, to take the first step toward a healthy emotional adjustment.

The funeral can, and does, take on many varied forms. Funerals can last from minutes to months and are usually influenced by the lifestyle and values of the bereaved family and friends.

1. "What Options Are Available in Services and Disposition?"
2. " What Does a Funeral Director and Staff Do?"
3. “ Why Pre-plan a Funeral?”

Question #1"What Options Are Available in Services and Disposition?"
Answer:A valuable aspect of contemporary funerals is their individuality. Whether a ceremony is elaborate or simple, funerals are often individualized to reflect the life of the deceased and to hold special meaning for family and other survivors. A service may reflect one's religious beliefs as a reaffirmation of faith in a greater life beyond this world. Some families choose to reflect upon the occupation or hobbies of the deceased, and some choose to center the service around an ethnic background or social affiliation.

In our society, three basic forms of final disposition are practiced:

The first is earth burial, which continues to be the form of disposition chosen most often.

Cremation is also a choice. This is a process of preparing the body for final disposition whereby the body is reduced by intense heat over several hours to a few pounds of small fragments. These cremated remains are usually placed in an urn, which may be buried, placed in a memorial niche, or kept in some other location. Cremated remains may also be scattered where permitted by law.

Finally, entombment in a crypt is also a choice and is one of the oldest forms of disposition. Today many cemeteries maintain crypts for entombment, which may be in a mausoleum or in an outdoor garden.

Question #2" What Does a Funeral Director and Staff Do?"
Answer:It has been estimated that over 136 individual activities must take place in order for one funeral to be conducted. The funeral director is actually an organizational specialist.

Here is a condensed list of some of the more visible activities of a typical funeral director and staff:


   • Removal and transferring the deceased from place of death to the funeral home.
   • Professional care of the deceased, which may include sanitary washing, embalming, preparation, restorative art, dressing, hairdressing, casketing and cosmetology.
   • Conduct a complete consultation with family members to gather necessary information and to discuss specific arrangements for a funeral.
   • File all certificates, permits, affidavits, and authorizations, as may be required.
   • Acquire a requested amount of certified copies of the death certificate needed to settle the estate of the deceased.
   • Compile information and create an obituary for placement in the newspaper and/or website of the family's choice.
   • Make arrangements with a family's choice of clergy person, church, music, etc.
   • Make arrangements with cemetery, crematory, or other place of disposition.
   • The providing of a register book, prayer cards, funeral folders, and acknowledgements, as requested by a family.
   • Offer the assistance of notifying relatives and friends.
   • Arrange for clergy honorariums, music, flowers, death certificates, obituaries, additional transportation, etc.
   • Care and arrangement of floral pieces and the post funeral distribution as directed by a family.
   • Arrange for pallbearers, automobiles, and special services (fraternal or military) as requested by a family
   • Care and preservation of all floral cards, mass cards, or other memorial contributions presented to the funeral home.
   • Your funeral director, with his/her staff personnel, will direct the funeral in a most professional manner, and be in complete charge of the funeral procession to the cemetery or other place of disposition.
   • Assist a family with social security, veterans insurance, grief counseling, and other death-related claims.
   • A post funeral meeting, by the funeral director, with a family, to deliver such things as the register book, floral and mass cards, and to ascertain whether or not he/she can be of further assistance.

Question #3“ Why Pre-plan a Funeral?”
Answer:Planning a funeral in advance can help eliminate financial burdens that often weigh upon the people we love most. Planning also means better informed decisions about the service details and expense. It can also alleviate some of the stress resulting from the loss of a loved one by giving the family a sense of control and a place at which to start the grieving process. Most of all, pre-planning means peace of mind for you and your family.

There are other questions that you may have in regards to the death of your loved one, such as “do I have to have embalming, do I need to purchase a casket, what about cemetery arrangements, does the family have a minister, do we want cremation, visitation,. . . ?” By contacting Brown Funeral Home we will be able to assist you in answering any of your questions. However, one of the best ways to make sure that all of your questions, and desires for the type of service you have in mind, are answered is by taking the time to make pre-arrangements. This process may be as simple as outlining your wishes to having all of the details written down and the financial arrangements prepaid. Simply contact Steve Hedges, our Preplanning Consultant, at 304-263-8896 for information or to make an appointment.

We invite you to contact Brown Funeral Home for any questions you may have.

Book of Memories

The pinnacle of memorialization, any family member or friends can take advantage of this free services by creating an account and a book to memorialize their loved one.

Immediate Need

If you have immediate need of our services, we're available for you 24 hours a day.

Obituaries & Tributes

It is not always possible to pay respects in person, so we hope that this small token will help.


Dying is one of the few events in life that's certain to occur, yet one we rarely plan for. Should we spend more time preparing for a two week vacation than we do our last days on Earth?

Expressions of Sympathy

It can be difficult to find the right words, so we have hand-picked a collection of sympathy and remembrance gifts that will be cherished.

Order Flowers

Offer a gift of comfort and beauty to a family suffering from loss.

Daily Grief Support by Email

Grieving doesn't always end with the funeral: subscribe to our free daily grief support email program, designed to help you a little bit every day, by filling out the form below.

Weekly Email Tips to Support a Grieving Friend

It's hard to know what to say when someone experiences loss. Our free weekly newsletter provides insights, quotes and messages on how to help during the first year.

Proudly Serving the Communities of Martinsburg, Hedgesville, Inwood, Gerrardstown, Falling Waters, Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Ranson, Summit Point, Kearneysville, Harpers Ferry, Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD, and Winchester VA
(304) 263-8896 Brown Funeral Home | 327 West King St. | Martinsburg, WV 25401 | Fax: (304) 263-9248 | Email: (304) 725-5321 Jefferson Chapel of Brown Funeral Homes | 114 N. Mildred St. | Ranson, WV 25438 | Fax: (304) 725-4767 | Email: (304) 229-4977 South Berkeley Chapel of Brown Funeral Homes | 287 Arden Nollville Road | Inwood, WV 25428 | Fax: (304) 229-4909 | Email: (304) 263-8896 Brown Funeral Home | 327 West King St. | Martinsburg, WV 25401 | Fax: (304) 263-9248 | Email: (304) 263-8896 Brown Funeral Home | Brown Funeral Home | 327 West King St. | Martinsburg, WV 25401 | Fax: (304) 263-9248 | Email: