When you think of the term "funeral director", many times you picture a man or woman in a black suit and tie, dress shoes, pen in pocket, with a stack of paperwork ready for signatures. But that was not always the case. In fact, the term for the original funeral director was called a "watcher" or a "layer" and most of the time were exclusively women. These women were usually a member of the family or a close friend of the deceased, and were not compensated for their services. Often, their duties would start as caring for the sick as a nurse and end as the person to care for the dead.
The responsibility of the watcher eventually evolved overtime into the present day funeral director. Please take a minute to read this very interesting article about watchers, their responsibilities, and how their care for the dead has been adopted by the modern day funeral industry.
You can read the full article by clicking HERE.