Posted on February 1, 2019 by Joe Pray under How to develop a memorial
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In December of 2018, Pray Funeral Home held a contest that we called “The Corteo Contest.” This was a challenge where people shared how they would conduct a meaningful life celebration for themselves, or the life of a family member or friend. We had a ton of great entries, and ultimately 10 people were selected as winners. The winners won a trip to Detroit to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Corteo, a stage production which features a clown reflecting on his own funeral. The prize winners traveled by bus to the show and dinner afterwards.

What did we learn?

The winners essays about their meaningful life celebrations or funerals were imaginative and wide ranging. Many of them focused on three points:
1. Family and friends were invited and expected to take part.
2. Their funerals included activities based upon interests or favorite activities of the deceased.
3. As the funeral guests affirmed and celebrated the life of the deceased they were invited to smile, laugh and have fun sharing their memories and recounting how they would carry the deceased’s life forward in their own hearts and minds.
The main recurring theme in all the entries was FUN.   Actually fun with funerals!

You won’t believe the ideas they came up with!

The winners’ essays included many interesting and meaningful life celebration ideas.  Here are some of the outstanding examples from the entries:
-After a funeral which would take place on a baseball diamond, guests would be bussed to a Tigers baseball game.
-A Disney themed funeral complete with a model backdrop of Cinderella’s castle and Disney characters would be followed up with a trip to Disney world with family and friends.
-SciFi fans would appreciate the service with the casket rising from the below the stage, appearing through fog and lasers while the theme from 2001 played to start the funeral.
-One idea involved building a maze that guests would walk through representing the twists and turns that the deceased experienced in his path through life and the lessons learned.


Find more detail about these and other winning essays about meaningful life celebrations on our website, You can also click here. You’ll also find how we might turn each essay into a fun and meaningful life celebration.

If you have a great idea that you have for a life celebration, funeral or family affirmation service, email it to us. We will use our imagination to craft your ideas into a meaningful and healing event.

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