Q&A on the News

Q: Years ago, coffins were made to where you could tell where the head of the person was when it was closed. Today’s coffins are a different story. Once the funeral has been held at the church and the coffin has been moved and turned a few times between the church and the graveyard and then placed over the gave for the final prayer, is there a way the funeral director knows that the head of the person is at the head of the grave where the headstone will go, or does that matter now and some people are being buried with their feet at the headstone?


A: The casket is always moved in and out of the church or chapel with the foot end first, and it is always placed in the funeral coach foot end first as well, Bryant Hightower, funeral director with Martin & Hightower Heritage Chapel in Carrollton and 2018-19 president-elect of the National Funeral Directors Association, told Q&A on the News.

“This allows the funeral director to always know how to proceed to the gravesite since he or she knows how the casket was placed in the coach,” he wrote in an email.

He said different locking mechanisms, depending on the manufacturer, at either the foot end or on the front side of the casket also would denote which is the head end or foot end of the casket.

Q&A on the News runs Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.