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Frequently Asked Questions


What do Funeral Directors do?

As licensed Funeral Directors we give care to families during some of the most difficult times of their lives. When you experience a death, we will make all of the necessary arrangements to transfer your loved one in to our care. After the initial family meeting, we will over see your wishes and decisions for funeral services as well as final disposition. In addition to service related care, we will conduct the necessary administrative tasks associated with death, and complete all necessary paperwork.

Our staff is here to listen, advise and support you through the grief process. John A. Gentleman Mortuaries is a part of your community. We are experienced in helping bereaved families cope with the issues surrounding the death of a loved one.

Why choose a family-owned funeral home?

We are family-owned, local, independently owned and operated. John A. Gentleman Mortuaries have personal relationships with the families we serve and are actively involved in the communities in which we live.

From the small and personal to the more public details, everything we do reflects our on-going commitment to provide affordable and quality services to our local community. True "consumer trust" is built slowly over long period of time. John A. Gentleman Mortuaries has been a part of Omaha and its surrounding communities for over 100 years. Our family-owned funeral homes are staffed by families and local members of your community.

Over the past 10 plus years, there has been a large phenomenon of corporations to buy funeral homes from all over the country. When a local owned and operated funeral home is purchased by a conglomerate these homes are forced to take on more corporate (impersonal) beliefs and practices. Frequently the ability to truly cater to the individual needs of a family gets lost in the corporate hustle and shuffle. While local staff is still involved with daily operations, the executive corporate staff without ties to the local community makes all of the final service related decisions. So when we say "We are proud to be family-owned and family-operated,' we are also saying 'We are proud to have the honor of having our family assist your family during one of the most difficult times of your lives."

Why is the price for a "traditional" funeral so high?

Funeral costs have increased at the same consumer price index for other consumer items. As our nation moves toward personalizing final services, a standard "traditional service" becomes more of an exception instead of the rule. It becomes increasingly difficult to quote an "average cost of today's funeral." The question is not so much "what is done" but "by whom and for what reasons." As with all other important decisions, open discussion and careful consideration helps to make for good decisions.

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries is here to guide you through the process. While great honor is placed in our ability to truly "create unique services to celebrate a life," we are equally committed to serving our families with dignity and integrity. We stand by our "100% Guarantee Satisfaction Policy" which is has been a key to our longevity and customer satisfaction.

What should you do when a relative dies?

Whether you received a 3am phone call or a call in the middle of the day, your initial reaction to the news of an unexpected death will likely be a shock. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared we are - or aren't - a loved one's death often leaves us feeling numb and bewildered. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming. What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. If your loved one was under medical care, be sure to notify the doctor. If you don't know the doctor's name, look for prescription bottles or medical bills. If the person was under the care of a hospice program, the hospice staff will be able to advise you of the appropriate procedures for your area.

We can assist you with making the appropriate arrangements. Our staff is available on a 24-hour basis and may be reached at (402) 391-1664 during any family emergency.

What information should I bring with me to the funeral home to make arrangements following the death of a family member?

Beside the most recent historical information for an obituary notice, the following list outlines some of the more important required information to complete a death certificate. Our staff will guide you through the process of obtaining additional information and items as needed.

  • Legal Name
  • Birth date, City/State of Birth
  • Home Address
  • Marital Status and spouse information (Maiden name if applicable)
  • Social Security Number
  • Education
  • Occupation and type of industry
  • Veteran Status (Record of Honorable Discharge)
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Maiden Name
  • Survivors: (Name) (Relationship)
  • Cemetery Information (Name, Address, Telephone Number)

Why do some people bury their dead and others cremate?

All through history humans have looked for honorable ways to dispose and to memorialize their loved ones. Interment or burials have remained the most commonly used method of disposition. As a modern, technological and mobile culture, we are less "grounded" than our great grandparents' and grandparents' generations and cremation suits this cultural change. Back then it made more sense in most places to bury the dead. Now that is not so much the rule. Our sense of "home" changes many times in a lifetime. So like living, which has become more transient and portable, cremation also make the deaceased more transient and portable.

Typically, cremations may cost less than burials. Though the difference is most often in the hundreds, not the thousands of dollars - primarily because crematory fees are most often less than grave opening charges. Still, when the cost of urns, nitches, or cemetery space for the ashes is added, the cost differences may be very little.

What type of caskets are available?

Caskets come in a wide selection of colors and styles. Traditional caskets are made out of steel, stainless steel, hardwood and fiberboard. Today, may people are also expressing the desire to access more eco-friendly and biodegradable products. Because John A. Gentleman Mortuaries are independently owned we are not tied to using only one supplier. This allows you the most options in your selection. Please stop in and visit us. We will be glad to show you our selection of caskets and urns. You can be assured that you will always find excellence and value in all of our offerings.

Can you have a funeral if you choose cremation?

Yes. Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition. It is common to have cremation follow a traditional funeral service.

What services are available if we choose cremation?

Traditional services such as a viewing/visitation with an open or closed casket, along with services at the funeral home or your place of worship, are common. The services with cremation are the same as with burial, and these services can be personalized to reflect the individual's life.

Can funeral arrangements be planned and prepaid in advance?

Yes and is commonly referred to as preplanning or prearranging. Many people find that preplanning gives them peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be respected and the burden lessened on their family at the time of their death. Some people find the need to protect their assets and assure that their funeral expenses will be taken care of.

Preplanning your funeral is a simple process which involves a meeting to discuss your choices, and allow us the opportunity to gather biographical information for a death certificate and obituary notices. If you wish you can discuss the type of service desired, the type of casket, outer burial container or cremation urn, as well as other related merchandise or items. Once your prearrangements are made, you may prepay your funeral (via an insurance policy or trust) to secure the price at today's cost. The interest that accumulates on your funds is then used to offset inflation. John A. Gentleman Mortuaries stands by our "100% Satisfaction Guarantee Policy" and only use reputable financial or prefunding institutions to secure and protect your funds.

How old should I be before planning my funeral?

With the comfort of knowing you have preplanned, you will enjoy the "peace of mind" that comes with knowing your final wishes are in order and more importantly, documented in a safe and secure place. Emotionally, it is always a good idea to be prepared for what we all know will eventually happen- before it becomes an issue. If the need arises at an earlier age your family will be relieved of the burden of making many decisions. Preplanning is a wise decision at any age.

What if I change my mind?

You never lose the option to make changes or update your arrangements. This is one of the major benefits for pre-planning – one location and always up-to-date!

How much will Social Security pay towards my funeral expenses, and who files for it?

The Social Security Administration may pay a lump sum death benefit of $255 to the surviving spouse or children under 18 years of age. Our staff will file the Social Security Funeral Director's Notification for you. Further information regarding benefits that you or your family may be eligible for can be obtained by calling your local Social Security Administration.

Who files for my Veterans benefits?

Each veteran, discharged other than dishonorably, is entitled to a burial flag and a government grave marker for an unmarked grave. In certain circumstances, a veteran may be eligible for additional monetary benefits. These may include a burial allowance of $300, a plot allowance of $150 and some transportation expenses. If the death is ruled to be service connected, there may be additional monies available. Applications are submitted to the appropriate agency on your behalf or for your survivors.

What is the Botanical Memorial Program?

The John A. Gentleman Botanical Memorial is a living tribute to those we have served. Each year a planting is made at the Omaha Botanical Gardens to act as a living reminder of the life of these special people.