Is embalming required?

No, embalming is not required by law except under certain circumstances (for example, when shipping the body to another state). Under federal rules, a funeral home may not embalm a body (or charge for it) without authorization from the family.

Embalming disinfects the body and replaces certain fluids with chemicals. This helps preserve the body and improves the appearance so that the person may be viewed before burial or cremation. Unlike most funeral homes, RAPP will permit a private viewing without embalming when practical. If you select embalming, a funeral director will attend to it personally, professionally, and with care.

Should we have a viewing?

ViewingSeeing the body can be difficult, but can also be therapeutic. This experience, available before either cremation or burial, can take many forms. One or two people may make a brief identification of the deceased, usually after only minimal preparation of the body or family and invited friends may have a private viewing with limited preparation. You may also have a more formal public visitation. If you do not want a viewing, you still may have calling hours for the family with a closed casket or the cremated remains present. Many families also enjoy displaying photographs or meaningful possessions from the life of the deceased.

What are my choices for memorial ceremonies?

church funeralYour options for memorial ceremonies are virtually unlimited. The ceremony may be public or private, formal or informal. It may be held at the funeral establishment, in church, at graveside, at some place of special significance, or a combination of the above. It may revolve around an open casket, a closed casket, the cremated remains, or a display of photographs or other memorabilia. And it may occur before the burial or cremation, days or weeks afterward, or both.

Elements of a ceremony may include a religious service, vocal or instrumental music (perhaps favorites of the deceased), and readings of eulogies, prayers or poems. Individuals may be invited to share something they recall or treasured about the deceased.

For a veteran, the survivors or funeral home may be able to arrange military honors, including honor guardsmen and the playing of “Taps.”

veteranFor some religious and ethnic groups, being in attendance when the cremation takes places is important. Because we have our own cremation center, Chesapeake Crematory, we can be flexible and accommodate these requests.

What should we do about an obituary?

An obituary celebrates a life and allows the community to share in the loss. You may want to submit an obituary to the newspapers in the area(s) where the deceased person lived for significant periods. Ask your funeral director if you need help.

Most daily newspapers publish obituaries of notable people and long-time area residents. They also publish short death notices (usually paid classified ads). Weekly newspapers often publish obituaries for free or for a small fee.

Most newspaper obituaries and death notices also appear online, usually through On that website and others, users can post photos, tributes, condolences, etc. Rapp offers a free online obituary to every family it serves. The free obituaries stay listed on our Obituaries page for 30 days, but can be found by a name search for up to a year. If you want to sponsor a longer-term Memorial Website, click here. For questions or concerns about paid online memorial websites, contact

Writing an obituary for a loved one can be therapeutic. Our Obituary Guidelines and Forms can help. For more obituary samples and tips, go to For local newspaper information, click here. To submit an obituary for, simply email the text to [email protected]. Or print and complete our Obituary Form, and submit to us by mail, fax or email.

Please note: By submitting obituary information to us, you grant Rapp permission to publish the information you provide on our website and linked pages at We strive to publish the information accurately and according to your wishes. If we make an error, let us know and we will correct it as soon as possible.

About Rapp Funeral and Cremation Services

Our staff is knowledgeable, courteous and understanding, our services handled with dignity and respect. If you’re seeking information about arranging your funeral or cremation ahead of time, if you need to arrange services today, or if you simply want to learn more about your options, we are here to help.

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