Q: Why must the deceased's head face east?


A: Dear Cedric: Please see the following references to your question. Some bury their dead lying, others sitting, and there is a remarkable consensus of custom for the practice of laying the body east and west, sometimes with the head to the east and sometimes to the west. This custom is evidently due originally to solar symbolism, and the head is turned to the east or to the west, accordingly as the dead are thought of in connection with the sunrise, the reputed home of deity, or with the sunset, the reputed region of the dead. This practice, however, though nearly universal, is not absolute, for some tribes lay their dead north and south, and others, like the Bongos, bury men with the face to the north and women with the face to the south, while if one of the Wanyamwesi of Africa happens to die abroad, he is buried facing his native village. ( Historically, Christian burials were made supine east-west, with the head at the western end of the grave. This mirrors the layout of Christian churches and for much of the same reason-to view the coming of Christ on Judgment day (Eschaton). In many Christian traditions, ordained clergy are traditionally buried in the opposite orientation, and their coffins carried likewise, so that at the General Resurrection they may rise facing, and ready to minister to, their people. ( Please feel free to contact us at anytime you have a question. Thank you for your inquiry.



Q: I am trying to find an obituary for our great aunt. Her name was Catherine K Cavender. She lived in Biloxi, and I’m pretty sure she is buried in the Biloxi Cemetery but can find no record. Wondering if you could help. She died in 1953.


A: Dear Ms. Cavender: The Sun Herald used to have an archive of their newspaper at the Biloxi Library in which old obituaries could be looked up and copied, however, since Hurricane Katrina, I'm not quite sure how the newspaper is handling the archiving of their records. I would suggest that you make contact directly with them to inquire about a copy of Ms. Cavender's obituary. I hope this is helpful to you. Good Luck Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes



Q: Bradford O'Keefe handled my father's arrangements this past week, and I just want to commend them for the wonderful, personal, compassionate and professional service our family received. Thank you.


A: Dear Ms. Henson: We want to thank you for entrusting Bradford-O'Keefe with the privilege of serving your family in your time of need. Thank you for taking a moment to compliment the staff; your feedback is most appreciated. Please call if we can assist in any matter that concerns you. Yours in service, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: Looking for the article on Horace J. Guillotte memorial services.


A: Dear Ms. Greenwell: Thank you for your inquiry. We don't have any articles at our funeral home as such. You may want to check with the Sun Herald directly if it was an article in the newspaper. Please let us know if we can be of further service to you.


Q: I have seen information that Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home was responsible for taking care of the remains of Thomas Milton Keeran, who died 17 Feb 1930 in Biloxi, MS. Mr. Keeran was born in OH in 1852. His wife's name was Josephine and was a sister of my maternal grandmother. The purpose of my inquire is to obtain information for my family genealogy. Would it be possible for me to obtain a copy of your records, or a death certificate, or an obituary for him?


A: Dear Mr. McCall: Sorry for not being able to get back to you sooner than now. We can only research our records when time permits. You may be able to obtain a Certified Copy of Mr. Keeran's death certificate through the Bureau of Vital Statistic's located in Jackson Mississippi. Their address should be obtainable online. I'm not sure how much information would have been pirnted in the local newspaper as Mr. Keeran's remains were shipped back to Weldon Iowa at the direction of Mrs. Josephine Keeran. I do have Mr. Keeran's birthday as Dec. 22nd, 1852 and his Death Date as Feb. 17th, 1930. I also note that Mr. Keeran was a retired farmer and that his fathers name was Thomas Keeran, Sr. That is all the information that we have available at this time. Thank you for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: Having been interested in the funeral service since the age of 14, I was wondering if you could tell me how does a person really know if this is what they are suited for? I have taken classes for funeral service, but it is very hard for any funeral home to give you a chance if you are not related to someone who owns a funeral home. Any suggestions on this question?


A: Funeral service employment, particularly in smaller communities, can be very stable. Consequently, very little turnover relates to very few employment opportunities. You may well be faced with having to move out of your local area to pursue your interest. I know that is not very convenient when you’re younger and just beginning to enter the work force, but you ultimately have to go where the jobs are to end up getting your foot in the door. I certainly wish you the best in your endeavors and encourage you to continue to pursue your true interest. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes



Q: Hi Jeffrey, My question is not concerning your expertise. I am the new local business owner of The Entrepreneur's Source. In my business, I coach people (who are interested in exploring career options) evaluate their goals, needs and expectations and discover what self-employment options are right for them. I am considering advertising with the "Ask the Experts" and would like to get your feedback on how it is working for you. Thanks for your time, Ben Hinton


A: Dear Mr. Hinton: I think all advertising is good. I suppose it depends on your desired response to determine if this is the right mode of advertising for you. While we feel this method may not elicit the highest direct response, we feel the exposure using the same is indeed valuable. Each business owner would have to determine the benefit level of value independently. Obviously, we wouldn't be utilizing Ask The Expert if we didn't feel there was adequate value in it. Thank you for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe


Q: I am looking for information about cremation-how I go about it, what it entails and cost. Thank you.


A: Dear Jill: Thank you for your inquiry. I would like to direct you to our funeral home website for some expanded information on cremation. Here are two links to our site for additional information: and The prices vary depending on the type of services that you would like to consider in addition to the basic cremation process. We do encourage some form of memorialization to celebrate the life of your loved one. Our basic cremation cost begins at $1,338.00 with a direct cremation package. If we can be more specific in answering any other questions, please don't hesitate to call us directly. Thank you again for your inquiry.


Q: Why is it so hard to find a funeral home to do your internship after committing yourself to mortuary school for all that time? Seems like no one will give trainees a chance. For the ones that have family in the business, they have it made, but what about the ones that don't? Is there someone who can help?


A: Thank you for your question. I think you should consider that when you are inquiring about an "internship" most employers are viewing that as you are applying for a "job". Completing the course work required within the mortuary college does not automatically mandate that someone hire that individual. Most employers are hiring specifically to fill a void in their employment force and typically are looking for the person who most fits their work ethic and culture. I would not give up in pursuing your goal. I know of an instance where an employee applicant waited a year and a half for an opening, doing odd jobs in the meantime, until the opportunity presented itself. Most opportunities are dictated by the job availability in your market. Sometimes to obtain a quicker placement one has to look outside of their locality to complete this specialized training. We wish you the best of luck in the pursuit of your career.


Q: Who writes the obits for the Sun Herald? Susanne Pearson was married to my brother and is the mother of his 2 children...whoever wrote the obit misspelled his last name, which should be Gray, not Grey, and they also misspelled their 2 granddaughters’ names Kirstia and Zoie. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I read this obit...Please contact whoever wrote this and make the corrections if possible. Thank you.


A: Dear Anonymous: Thank you for your inquiry. Our funeral directors, through our clerical staff, generally produce the obituaries submitted to the newspapers, however, on occasion, the family will submit the obituary directly to us and instruct us to print that as presented. That is what was done in this case by Sara Raskett, sister to Susanne Pearson. We will notify her as you requested with these errors as they were submitted. We can provide you with an exact copy of the original obituary if the submitting family member agrees to the release of that information. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Q: I am a mortuary college student taking funeral service education at St. Petersburg College. I'm taking my general education courses at the moment, and I was wondering, "How does one go about getting a job in a funeral home while attending college?” I want to be able to go to a firm and explain my situation and basically sell myself to the owner. Could you, being a funeral home owner, tell me what you would look for in the person who came to you for a position? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


A: Dear Timothy: There is a heavy demand for bright young talent coming into our industry. Most of the common traits found in a person who becomes successful apply to employment applicants in any field of work, so I won't bore you with the obvious ones, such as being reliable, honest, trustworthy, etc. If you’re actually looking for work while attending college, your schedule of availability will play a large role in your success in being hired. If you’re looking for employment once your educational process has been completed, then we go back and base your character on the common traits of successful individuals. If you would like to visit more at length concerning your questions, please feel free to contact us at our website for our local phone listings. Good luck with your endeavors. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe


Q: Would your funeral home have conducted funeral services for my sister, Anita Connor. I am trying to locate her, and she lived on Motsie Rd. Her telephone has been disconnected. Can you be of help? I think you buried her daughter Shelly last summer.


A: Please call our Howard Avenue location and ask for assistance at 228-374-5650. Thank you Jeffrey H. O'Keefe


Q: Is there a law that says someone must conduct your funeral, i.e. a preacher or family member?


A: Dear Anonymous: I would presume by your question that you are inquiring as to if there is a law requiring that a preacher or family member "eulogize" someone when he/she dies. In that regard, I don't believe that there is a law that mandates such. Generally, a eulogy is done out of respect for the deceased and/or his or her family. Thank you for your inquiry. Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: I've been offered an opportunity to interview for a position selling pre-arrangements. I come from a different sales background and wanted to find out how lucrative this position can or cannot bet? Currently, I make a 6-figure income in medical sales but have been seeking a change. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


A: Tanya: Thank you for your inquiry. I don't think that there are many individuals making a 6-figure income selling pre-arranged funerals. Those making that kind of money more than likely are either outstanding salespeople, individually, with an extraordinary talent for closing the sale or they are in a supervisory role and responsible for not only his or her own sales, but those who fall under their management. Generally, at that level also comes an expectation of performance goals being met and improved upon. Good luck as you pursue your options and if you have any other questions, please feel free to call or write. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President


Q: My stepmother contracted for my father's funeral without consulting any of his children or allowing any of them to have any say in the matter. She set up an extremely expensive funeral ($11,200) for his small estate. She wants to charge the estate for all of it and for the headstone also. She also refused to bury him where he requested. Is there a maximum that she can charge the estate for this?


A: Dear Mr. Trott: I am not a lawyer but I would suggest that your stepmother would probably be deemed the most immediate next of kin and therefore have the authority to make those decisions. The only relief for siblings who feel differently about the decisions would be in the legal system. Often times when family members are at odds over decision making, we suggest the court order be obtained. A judge usually will assist in giving everyone a fair opportunity to be involved in the process prior to rendering a decision. This, of course, is generally done prior to services being rendered and therefore could be of some impact to the services being selected. As far as a maximum amount an estate can be charged for funerals, we know of no rules that specify any particular percentages as such. Generally expenses that are deemed "reasonable" are permitted. I hope this helps and thank you for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe


Q: I would like to obtain a copy of my cousin's obituary. Name is Russell E. Buchanan. He died 10-26-06 in Gulfport. He was my mother's nephew. If I could get an address to send a sympathy card, I would also appreciate that. Thank you. Donna Goodner-Muhlbach POB 153 Arnold, NE. 69120


A: Dear Mrs. Goodner-Muhlbach: Thank you for your inquiry. This forum is better used for explanations regarding subject matters in which people are seeking to learn additional information as opposed to that of providing personal data or information... Could you please email us directly at JHOKEEFE@AOL.COM or call 228-865-0090. Thank you again for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: My mother has a prepaid policy, and I was wondering if you still have all of your records. This policy was purchased in the late 80's or early 90's.


A: Thank you for your question: If your mother prepaid her funeral, we will indeed have a record of her transaction. Typically, funerals are funded either by placing the funds in a funeral trust at the bank or many times the funeral would be funded by an insurance policy. Since I don't have your mother’s specific information, I can't look her prearrangement up at this time. We did in fact lose some of our in-house records, but her investment in her prearrangement is protected within the bank or insurance company which her money was invested with. Additionally, which ever institution has the funds will also have at least a partial record of her prearrangement and possibly a complete copy. Thank you again for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: My grandmother was buried from Philbrick & Son, 11415 Ave in Miami in June of 1971. I cannot seem to find that mortuary on the internet. Can you help me?


A: Dear Father Thorburn: Thank you for your inquiry. I cannot locate a listing of Philbrick & Son Funeral Home in my directories regarding funeral homes, either. What I might recommend is that you check with the Florida State Board of Funeral Service, which licenses and regulates funeral homes in Florida to see if they may have some information on this funeral home. Thank you again for your inquiry. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: Do you have any information on the free funeral payments for Seniors?


A: Thank you for your inquiry. The only information that I have regarding free funeral payments for seniors would be those that are "interest free". Quite often when one prearranges a funeral and funds the arrangement, they make payments over time that they can afford. Some of these plans, such as those funded by insurance, have an additional fee in the event the consumer dies prior to the payment plan being completed. In effect, that is a carrying charge. Other types of plans, such as those placed in a bank trust, sometimes do not have these carrying charges. The amount of the service & merchandise selected is simply divided by the number of payments the consumer elects to make, therefore, these types of payments are "interest free". I hope this helps. The only other suggestion that I might offer is that it looks as though you live in Indiana and I would suggest that sometimes there are particular plans that vary from state to state. I would recommend you check with a local funeral director to see if there is some type of new plan within Indiana which provides for free payments for seniors. Thanks again for your inquiry.

Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: Were there any battles fought at Burial Hill in Plymouth?


A: Regarding battles fought at Burial Hill Plymouth, my suggestion would be to contact a resident historian, perhaps with one of our state’s excellent universities. There were indeed many battles fought over the years, but to isolate some specific conflicts, your best source would be resident historians. Good Luck with your search. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: What is the law on being buried on your land?


A: Thank you for your inquiry. Regarding the laws on being buried on personally-owned land, my best advice would be for you to consult your local legal professional. This is an issue that changes from time to time over the years and would best be researched through a law firm in your locality. Good luck. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: Looking for my Mother's grave: Was told she is in Southern Memorial Park, Miami, FL. Her name is Doris nee Archer Cook (abt1905-abt 1964).


A: Thank you for your inquiry. Southern Memorial Park is an independently-owned cemetery in Biloxi and therefore maintains their own records privately. Their telephone number is 228-388-3292. Thanks again for your inquiry, and if we may be of further assistance to you, please don't hesitate to call or write. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe – President, Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes Thanks again for your inquiry and if we may be of further assistance to you, please don't hesitate to call or write. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: I have a prepaid funeral. I was evacuated after the hurricane to Washington, DC. If I die before returning to Gulfport, would this prepaid funeral contract be honored elsewhere?


A: Dear Mr. Whitehouse: Yes, your prepaid funeral benefits can be applied for much like the filing for an insurance policy. These proceeds can then be applied toward the merchandise and services at the funeral home of your choosing. There are no contractual agreements requiring another funeral home to honor the same exact prices. When one of our clients moves to another area and plan to use someone else, we do our best to locate another service provider to honor the prearrangements at the prices as they are written with our firm. If we can be of further assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact us at your convenience. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home


Q: This is my 2nd request for info! I would appreciate an answer. I understand that you sustained a lot of damage to records. Do you have info on the burial arrangements for Felix (Skeets) and Veronica A. Cangemi?? Regarding color or other identification for casket for him...urn number for her?? Their crypts were among those destroyed at Southern Memorial.


A: Dear Mrs. Manuel: Sorry about the delay in answering your question. This is actually the first notification that I have received that you had asked a question. We have been asked to direct you to the cemetery itself for the answers to those questions regarding the Hurricane-damaged crypts at Southern Memorial. DMORT, the Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team, operated by our government, seized the cemetery following the Hurricane in an effort to make all the possible identifications. We are not updated by them or the cemetery owners regarding the status on any of those whom were buried there. Please feel free to call them directly at any of the following numbers: Owner - Kim Powers 515-573-2671 Southern Memorial Park 228-388-3292 or Floral Hills Cemetery 228-896-9496, which is operated by the same owner. Thank you for your inquiry and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home


Q: How would I contact the manager of Southern Memorial? My parents are buried there. Their headstones are missing. They were nearby the day after the hurricane, however they are missing now. Would like to find out if they are stored somewhere in order to have replaced.


A: Yes, thank you for your inquiry. You may contact the Manager of Southern Memorial Park on her cell phone. Her name is Kim Powers, and her cell phone is 515-573-2671. You may also reach some of her staff at either of the two following numbers: Southern Memorial Park 228-388-3292 or Floral Hills Cemetery 228-896-9496. Should you have any difficulty getting through with these numbers, please don't hesitate to contact me again at your convenience. Jeffrey H. O'Keefe - President Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes


Q: I am trying to find out the current licensing requirements and/or reciprocity requirements for your state. I am licensed in CA and AZ and have been licensed in WA. I am also National Board Certified with over 30 years’ experience. If you could help me with this information, I would appreciate it. Best of luck in completing your repairs. I had been in your city in '72 and enjoyed my visit. I would look forward to visiting again.


A: Dear Mr. Lewis: Thank you for your inquiry. The best way to get the full details of your questions answered is to contact the Mississippi State Board of Funeral Service, which licenses and regulates funeral homes for the State of Mississippi. They are completely versed in all the requirements pertaining to your current status and what may be required when it comes to reciprocity. I'm told generally that the success of the reciprocity process usually depends on the willingness of the state one is transferring from to send the necessary information, such as one’s present license. Good luck and we wish you the best. Sincerely, Jeffrey H. O'Keefe


Q: What are the options of paying for funeral service?


A: Funerals can be paid for in advance by pre-arranging or at the time of death. Payment methods vary from a lump sum payment, payments over time, and/or the assignment of insurance policy proceeds. If a pre-arrangement has not been made, terms are fully explained and agreed upon during the arrangement conference at the time of need. Payment is made in the customary forms of cash, check, money order or credit card also. Thank you for your inquiry.


Q: I understand some of your facilities were damaged during Katrina. Which locations are open and how are you assisting families in the areas where your locations are not operating? Thanks.


A: Thank you for your inquiry. It’s true, we suffered considerable damage to our Howard Ave. location in Biloxi and our downtown Gulfport location. We are presently operating out of 2511 Pass Road, Biloxi, 911 Porter Ave., Ocean Springs and 15452 O'Neal Road, Gulfport. We are assisting families in all the same cities that we have previously operated within. We are simply forwarding our phones to our facilities with less damage until the locations that were damaged can be renovated and put back into full service. Like most on the Gulf Coast, we were not spared from Katrina's wrath, however, we are as determined as ever to give families who select our company, the best possible service available. We are unwavering in our appreciation of the need for a respectful burial for our loved ones. For additional information, please feel free to call 228-374-5650.