The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

For a growing number of women, this is a business to die for

Kienta Tibbs is doing something that a lot of other women are doing.  This week, she’s opening up a funeral home business in Culpeper, Va., called Tibbs Funeral Home & Cremation.

Being a mortician isn’t one of the coolest or trendiest businesses around. But it’s certainly an industry that will never…uh…die. It was once a profession dominated by men. But the trend has changed. Now, as reported in the Daily Progress, it seems like it’s the women who are rising. Females now make up 62 percent of graduates from accredited mortuary programs, according to an industry educational group. That number is up from 53 percent in 2004 and 40 percent in 1996.


“I think women bring more compassion to this industry,” Janet M. Stephens, program director of funeral services at John Tyler Community College, told the Daily Progress. “We are more apt to listen to the family’s needs and desires.”

Like many smart business owners, Tibbs put in a lot of years of service before venturing out on her own. She became licensed in multiple states and worked for more than 15 years at three funeral homes in the area learning the business. She not only got a formal education but also learned from her employers. All of this prepared her to start her own business. Plus, she’s got the right attitude.

“I want my families to know that I am here in Culpeper to earn their trust and honor their loved ones,” she told the Daily Progress last week. “They should be able to grieve and not worry about the business side of the process.”

Compassion, nurturing and yes, sometimes a little bit of mothering is needed for peoplewho are grieving. The funeral business seems like a pretty good one for the right female entrepreneur.