How Funeral Services Have Evolved In the Past 100 Years

Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Service has been serving the Columbus community as a family business for over 100 years, and we have continued to grow and evolve with modern times. Mr. Dollie Whittaker established Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Home in 1905, becoming an important business and social institution in the community. We are proudly the oldest African-American family owned and operated mortuary in the area, serving all people regardless of race and ethnicity. We have witnessed first hand how funeral services have evolved in the past 100 years and wanted to share a few insights. 

From Sorrow to Celebration 

Funeral services were often known as a religious tradition, expressing darkness and heartache. Over time, we have evolved from sorrow to celebration, where friends and family members use this as a time to celebrate the life. Although it is still natural to feel sadness and grief when losing a loved one, it’s important to rejoice in the life they lived and the impact they left on Earth. Not to mention, it is important to rejoice in that soul’s return home to the Lord.

Burial vs Cremation

When discussing funeral services 100 years ago, cremation was hardly a suggestion. Most Christian people were resistant to anything but a traditional casket burial. However, as time went on, more and more families have opted for cremation services opposed to burial. Not only is cremation an affordable service, but it allows family members to remember their loved one through creativity. The personalization options following a cremation are endless, making it an appealing choice to display ashes in a beautiful urn or handmade glass piece. Choose from beautiful styles of urns for placing in your home or consider cremation jewelry, allowing you to hold your loved one close.

Pre-Planning Your Funeral Was Not an Option 

Pre-planning your funeral arrangements is a common idea shared among many people and funeral directors today. But, it wasn’t always this easy. Pre-planning was introduced in the early 1950’s and has since grown to be a popular option. Making arrangements for your own funeral puts you in charge of displays, and also saves your family from stress during the difficult time. 

Learn more on how you can pre-plan your funeral service by completing our online form.


As technology continued to advance, so did we. 100 years ago you would often hear the death of a loved by word-of-mouth or obituary notices with basic information that were placed in the local grocery store. This eventually advanced to a newspaper column which gave information on the family and funeral service. Technology has made sharing obituary information easy, effortless, and more accessible. We keep our website updated with obituaries and funeral information, where some families choose to include the deceased’s hobbies or passion as opposed to basic information. These are often posted to social media where families and friends can spread the news.

While funeral services and traditions have evolved and changed over the past century, our family’s commitment to this community and the people in it hasn’t diminished at all. We remain dedicated to providing traditional funeral services and homegoing ceremonies of dignity and distinction to all of our neighbors and friends.



Diehl-Whittaker is a funeral service in Columbus, Ohio who makes every effort to reflect the quality of your loved one’s life. 

The care your family deserves, at a cost your family can afford. 

Contact us today for burial packages, cremation packages, and pre-planning assistance. 

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