Tampa Bay Reflects on the American Funeral
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

From Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession to celebrity memorials, Reflections: The American Funeral Tour was one of the most popular attractions at Ribfest. The museum features displays highlighting Native American burial traditions, presidential processions, veterans’ ceremonies, celebrity funerals and more.

“We knew a 1,000-square-foot funeral museum in the middle of Vinoy Park would draw a lot of attention,” said John McQueen, owner of Anderson-McQueen Family Tribute Centers. “Everyone who went through was surprised at how interesting it was, and some shared their own memories about the featured funerals.”

Ribfest broke all of the museum’s attendance records. Nearly 6,000 people went through the museum, took photos with Glory Ride and the horse-drawn hearse, and entered to win a weekend getaway at the TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach.

Bill McQueen presents the raffle drawing winner,
Philip Harris, with a gift certificate and beach supplies for a TradeWinds weekend getaway.

Serving Family Members with Fur, Feathers, Scales and Tails
Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Labradors? Beagles? Persians or Siamese? When asked about the most common animal services, the Pet Passages team has a difficult time determining the most popular. The most unique, however, encourages a lively discussion.

“Birds, rabbits, ferrets, rats, gerbils, hamsters, lizards, snakes, iguanas and a pot-bellied pig,” said Jillian Holzhueter, Pet Passages coordinator. “We’ve seen it all, and the stories are often as moving as our human services.”

While they may be nontraditional, these unique pets represent an important place in the lives of the families we serve. Their owners point to the unique personalities, the unconditional love and the immeasurable happiness and joy they brought to their lives.

Exotic pet owners become accustomed to going the extra mile to care for their precious companions – from specialty food stores and veterinarians, to finding that particular friend or neighbor to check in while they travel. At Pet Passages, we wanted to make sure we served all members of the family, even the ones less common.

Sharing the Love, Honoring the Life and Preserving the Legacy… Online
Friday, January 15th, 2010

The Anderson-McQueen web site has received more than just a facelift. We have designed an online resource to help our friends and neighbors understand the value of ceremony and to inspire them to create unique memorial services to honor the life of their loved ones.

“The site is no longer just about us, it is about the families we serve,” said Bill McQueen, president and CEO. “Going beyond the traditional online obituaries, guest books and condolence systems, our site gives friends and families an opportunity to connect by posting notes, photos, videos and more. It provides an online home for the memorial.”

Visitors to our new site will discover a distinctive, tailored resource that includes:

Intuitive tools to help design a funeral
Whether you are planning a traditional ceremony or a contemporary celebration, we’ll walk you through our established packages and signature services to create a unique memorial to tell your loved one’s story.

Checklists to preplan choices for your arrangements
Preplanning your funeral is an essential part of a well-tended life, as it provides you with time to make end-of-life decisions in a calm and rational atmosphere. Take a look at some options online, or meet with one of our legacy planning counselors to make your wishes known.

Grief support resources, including 24/7 counseling
We know that grief doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock. Now, you can access a variety of support services at any hour. View interactive videos, join in group grief support, subscribe to daily e-mails of hope and affirmation and, soon, get live grief counseling from the comfort of home.

Online obituaries and memorials that function like your favorite social media sites

With our new memorial Web services, families can customize a page for their loved one, including areas to tell their story, add photographs and videos, light virtual candles and share information on other social media sites.

Live webcasts of funerals for friends and family unable to attend the service
The newest innovation in funeral service, webcasting, allows your family and friends to join in your loved one’s memorial or funeral service, through streaming video over the Internet. This video can be viewed live online, archived for delayed viewing and recorded to DVD as a permanent keepsake.

“Nothing will ever replace the personalized service we offer each family that comes to Anderson-McQueen,” said McQueen. “However, this new site will provide information when it’s convenient, help those who are grieving and connect friends and family from anywhere in the world.”

A Note About Pets
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009


Pets represent some of the most faithful relationships we humans have in our lifetime. Whether a dog, a cat, or other special animal, it is hard to put to words just how we feel when we say goodbye to our furry loved one. Tears come, and despite the relief that many feel when a pet’s suffering comes to an end, our need to mourn the loss of our pet remains.

When a child is faced with the loss of an animal companion, it’s possible for you to help them through this most difficult and heart-breaking time. But first – a few words of caution:

Most experts agree that children younger than about 7 or 8 have a hard time understanding that death is a permanent, non-reversible event.

Resist the temptation to discuss what happens to a pet after death, since different religious perspectives offer myriad views.

Take your time finding a new pet for your family. It will not be quite as easy to replace all of the losses your family will encounter as quickly. Use this time of separation as a valuable teachable experience.

A few suggestions in creating an opportunity to say goodbye, from our Anderson-McQueen professionals:

  • Begin by asking your child what he or she thinks happened to the family pet. They may know more than you think – and by allowing them to say what she believes, in her own words, you can better prepare your response.
  • Always avoid using terminology that is unclear – like “has gone to heaven, or he has gone to sleep.” Those are very confusing to a younger child.
  • Explain that your family was lucky to have such a great pet, and the animal companion was equally lucky to have a family to care for him or her.
  • Once you have the urn containing your pet’s cremated remains, you may want to consider burying the urn at your home.
  • If the child is young, ask them if he or she would like to help say goodbye, by coloring a picture from memory of her favorite time with the pet. Even older children may enjoy this act of love.
  • Allow them to choose a site for the burial of the urn, or if the urn is to be kept – ask him or her where it should be kept in your home. Don’t be too alarmed if, for a while, the urn has a very prevalent place in your home. After a while, the pain of separation will subside for everyone in your household – and the time and place will ideally present itself for a final goodbye of your beloved companion’s cremated remains, in a perfect location.

If we can be of any assistance to you and your family during a similar grieving experience, please call or email us.

Veteran’s Benefits
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

designWe received this question, and thought we’d share the answer we provided her with everyone. It’s all useful information!

“My husband got an offer for a free grave at a local private cemetery because he is a veteran. What other benefits can we receive because of his service?”

Any veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, is entitled to burial in one of the national cemeteries set aside by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In addition to this award, the cost of perpetual care at that cemetery, the opening and closing of the grave, and a cemetery grave liner (which holds the casket to prevent the grave from sinking) is all provided to the veteran, and his eligible spouse without cost.

Regardless of where you choose to be buried, the Veteran’s Administration will provide a 12″ by 24″ bronze grave marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, signed by the current president of the United States, to your next of kin, if requested by him or her. Some families choosing burial at a national cemetery are eligible for reimbursement of transportation expenses.

If a private cemetery is offering him a free grave space, you’d be smart to ask some important questions:

  • Is the free grave a conditional based upon any other purchases from the cemetery?
  • What if any restrictions are placed upon the marking of the grave?
  • Is there a cost for setting the complimentary marker provided by the VA on the gravesite?

Make sure that your questions are fully answered, and that the complete offer is made in writing.

Our professionals can advise veterans and their families as to their burial rights. Call on us today – as veterans of funeral service, we’re here to serve!

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