MILWAUKEE – Lifelong Packers fans understand.
Nothing much gets in the way of a game, and that includes death, or at least discretionary times for funeral observances.
With the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, that goes double.
Throughout the season, funeral directors routinely make sure that families are aware of any potential conflict with the Packers. Most decide to schedule visitation and services either before or after a game, sometimes even on another day.
“This is not unusual for a Packers game,” said Joe Becker, of the Becker-Ritter Funeral Home in Brookfield, Wis. “We are always looking at the Packers’ schedule – Super Bowl or not.
“People will say, ‘Dad wouldn’t want to interfere with the Packer game.’ Or maybe they don’t want to impose on people. Or maybe they may want to see the game, too,” he said, with a laugh.
Other funeral directors agree.
“You want to have a funeral and have people show up,” said Mark Krause with Krause Funeral Homes.
A bit of very human psychology may also be at work here. Just as families try not to schedule a funeral on an important day – say, a child’s birthday or Christmas – some may not want Super Bowls to be associated with death.
It doesn’t have to even be football season for the “avid Packers fan” references to show up in paid death notices, especially in Green Bay. Milwaukee area fans are loyal, too.
“Dick was an avid Packers fan, and was at peace when he knew they’d beaten the Bears and were going to the Super Bowl,” read a recent notice for Richard Scarvaci, 68, in the Journal Sentinel.
Some late fans also take it with them when they go, wearing Packers gear or being tucked into a casket with a Packers blanket.
“We’ve had tailgate visitations already, where we served brats and beer,” Krause said. “Families bring in Packers – or Badgers – memorabilia, and have the game on the TV during the visitation.”
However, not everyone is a Packers fan in Green Bay.
The family of a Green Bay man scheduled funeral arrangements to conflict with one of this season’s playoff games. Friends showed up for the visitation, disappearing before the service – and game – time.
“The gentleman didn’t like the Packers,” said Gillis of the Blaney Funeral Home in Green Bay. “It made sense to have it this way for their father. Their father might have done it out of spite anyway.”
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