Rochester-based Pixley Funeral Home

Pixley Funeral Home is stepping into their fourth generation as Andrew Pixley, son of Vern Pixley, is in his final year of the mortuary science program at Wayne State University.  He has been working side by side with his father since a young man, growing up in the business. While clearly this is a business, make no mistake Vern is passionate about his family's life's work.

In his sit-down interview session for the 13-part series "The Embrace of Dying," which will debut this fall on PBS in Detroit, Vern talks about how dignity is so important when caring for the deceased. "Dignity is what every person deserves when they pass on."

Vern spoke in great detail about how the funeral business has changed over the years and how families and loved ones are now looking for a celebration of their loved ones life as opposed to the old-style ritualistic ceremonies.

Vern made it very clear that he always feels for the family, "We are caring, compassionate, professional, focused, quiet, and always disciplined in our approach to details. The best analogy is that of a great maître d' in a three-star Parisian restaurant. Nothing is harder for me than to have to perform a funeral for a child. Each time I do this, I hurt; it's not possible not to. At the same time, I'm always honored to care for a parent or grandparent who has lived a full life"

We are honored to have Vern Pixley featured in this film. We are sure his passion and vast knowledge of the funeral industry will help all of us better understand just how important these leaders of our communities are, not only as citizens, but also the ones who are there taking care of our loved ones when they pass on.

To read more about the series, go to