The Wake

Exclusive to Starks Funeral Parlor is the ritual of an evening wake.

Throughout our time in funeral service, we thoughtfully observed and considered rituals surrounding death and the meaning and the comfort they offered to those left behind. Before funeral homes came to be, people passed away in their homes. The loved one was prepared for visitation carefully in a parlor and a black ribbon was hung on the door, welcoming friends to pay their respects. While family awaited the cabinet-maker to build their casket and the gravediggers to prepare the site, friends would arrive to the home bringing food and their memories to nurture and share.


As practices evolved, funeral homes came into existence in effort to take care of unpleasantries and “sanitize” the death experience for families. And in that “cleaning” we lost the opportunity to offer our gifts of love and memories to the family crippled by grief. A sad loss considering that perhaps the most comforting thing during loss, more comforting than a fancy casket or anything else you can buy, is that love and comfort brought by family and friends. We are committed that our role, our “job” at your time of loss is to create a home where friends feel comfortable enough to spend their time with you, recalling memories of your loved one you may not have heard. We host your friends in our home in a way that returns us to the most traditional practice of a wake from centuries before us.


Each wake is tailored to the individual’s beliefs and personality. Candles glow amongst framed photos, live music fills the air, and fresh flowers adorn the parlor. We hand-pass appetizers carefully prepared by our in-house executive chef to keep the evening social. If you choose, wine is offered, perhaps a special toast to your loved one. Our outdoor garden—a natural extension of our living area—is open when weather permits, where friends may gather around the warmth of the firepits, a tranquil fish pond, or in a serene gazebo. Family, friends and guests are encouraged to mingle and connect. Set against an elegant backdrop, we create a meaningful celebration that will be cherished for years to come.