Amy Cunningham – Fitting Tribute Funerals

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Amy Cunningham – Fitting Tribute Funerals

Aired Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST

At this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, news reports share the devastating results of the accumulation and storage of victim’s bodies. Photos of refrigerated trucks around hospitals such as Bellvue leave us to wonder how families may honor and bury their deceased loved ones at this time of physical distancing and social isolation. We hear of the heroics of first responders and medical personnel, but unsung among them are the devoted and caring funeral directors who are working under extreme circumstances to provide comfort to grieving families.

Join me this week on Destination Unlimited is one of these heroic funeral directors, my dear friend Amy Cunningham. Amy Cunningham is a progressive funeral home owner, licensed director and celebrant in Brooklyn who collaborates with New York City families to help them create the best funerals and farewells possible. She specializes in green burials in cemeteries certified by the Green Burial Council, simple burials within the NYC- Metropolitan area, delayed transfers and home funerals, and witnessed cremation services in Green-Wood Cemetery’s gorgeous crematory chapels.

Filled with kind advice on how to make funerals more affordable and sustainable, Amy was profiled by the New York Times in 2014, Tricycle magazine in 2017, and named one of nine top funeral innovators by FuneralOne, a leading voice for change in the funeral industry. In February 2018, Women’s Health magazine gave Amy the unique moniker “Death Ritual Disrupter,” in a piece about how daily death contemplation and awareness can enrich our lives and keep us healthier.

Fortified by her mortuary training from the American Academy McAllister Institute, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia, Amy was trained as a funeral celebrant by Glenda Stansbury and Doug Manning, certified as a home funeral guide by Jerrigrace Lyons and Olivia Bareham, and exposed to Jewish ritual through the teachings of Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips. She then took end-of-life doula training with Henry Fersko-Weiss at the NY Open Center where she is now also on the faculty of the Integrative Thanatology death education counselor program. Her website is and she joins me this week to discuss her path and how funeral professionals are dealing with this unprecedented crisis.

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