Carrying the Load: Roles of Pallbearers

Roles of Pallbearers

In this episode, host Pete Waggoner and Amber Miller of O’Connell Family Funeral Homes discuss the role of pallbearers in funeral services. They explain the origin of the term “pallbearer” and its evolution to refer to individuals carrying the casket during a funeral procession. The hosts explore the process of choosing casket bearers, including age and gender requirements, and the benefits of involving loved ones in the selection process during pre-planning. The conversation also covers how the tradition of urn-bearers applies to cremated individuals and how it can be personalized to honor the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones. This episode also looks into the importance of personalizing the funeral service to reflect the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones.


  1. Pallbearers play an essential role in the funeral service by carrying the casket and honoring the deceased. Choosing pallbearers can be a thoughtful way to involve loved ones in the funeral planning process and ensure that the deceased’s final wishes are carried out with care and respect.

In this episode:

[1:27] Host Pete Waggoner jumps right into the interesting topic of pallbearers. Amber discusses the origin of the word and its practice. They talk about how in the middle ages, pallbearers used to carry the pall instead of the actual casket.

[3:23] Pete and Amber explore what it means to be a casket bearer and how they are chosen. Amber shares how some clients would request to assign their grandchildren as the pallbearers during the preplanning process.

[6:37] The two discuss how the tradition works for cremated individuals. Amber explains how certain loved ones may carry the urn, although having pallbearers in such cases is optional.

[9:01] Pete and Amber discuss the age and gender requirements for pallbearers. Amber shares how they would discuss the specifics with the deceased’s family.

[11:44] Pete and Amber talk about the interchangeability of the terms ‘pallbearer’ and ‘casket bearer.’ They also emphasize how identifying one’s casket bearers during preplanning can greatly show appreciation for the loved one.


  1. O’Connell Funeral Homes 
  2. Amber Miller
  3. 10 Things You Need To Think About Your Funeral – Worksheet
  4. Read Show Transcript


  1. “I think this is a great exercise where you can reach out to people and say you’re really important to me in my life. I like you to be part of this, and this is what I want you to do. What a great way to cement that in.”Pete Waggoner on identifying one’s casket bearers during the funeral pre-planning process

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