Norwalk's Evans Funeral Home is hoping to use a bit of today's technology to help grieving families through what is a difficult time.
"By April 10, we want to have the option available to families of an online live video feed of the funeral service or visitation," said John Evans, who owns the funeral home wife his wife Jennifer and has been in the business about 20 years.
Evans said he has been considering this online option for some time, but really started thinking about it when security cameras were installed last summer.
"With a lot of families, not everyone can make it to the funeral," he said. "The family members will be given a password so they can view the funeral online. There won't be a tape made or a playback later. It's a one-time shot and it's up to them. The funeral will be very private, again with a password, and very tastefully done."
Evans said an exterior camera, which will normally be focused on the waterfall and landscaping at the property, can be used so online viewers can see the funeral procession arrive at the funeral home. This exterior camera can also serve as a "weather cam" or a "just to see what's it's like in Norwalk that day" camera as it will always be running.
Sound also will be added to the Web site so viewers can not only see, but hear the service.
"This concept is new, but I know it's been offered in Canada, New York and in the Southwest," Evans said. "But as far as I know, we're the first funeral home in Ohio to offer this service."
Evans said he knows the online option might seem different or odd to some people at first. "But we have videotaped the service for families in the past and then given them the tape. In my mind, this is the same option."
This option might be perfect for a family member in a nursing home or relatives who live far away.
Evans said the possibility exists of the online viewing being made public if the family agrees. For example, if a mayor or former mayor or well-known local citizen dies and many people are planning to attend the service the family can allow the online viewing to go public.
"But that would be totally up to the family," Evans said.
Evans said the concept still is being tweaked even as he spoke about it Saturday morning.