Why Did You Become an Embalmer?: An Interview with Joanna

Why Did You Become an Embalmer?: An Interview with Joanna

An interview with our Care Center Manager and Assistant General Manager, Joanna Ramirez:

– How long have you worked for O’Connor Mortuary?

I have been here at O’Connor since 2006.

– When did you first learn about embalming? 

I first learned about embalming when I was in school and a guidance counselor passed a list of majors out to the class. I started looking into it and found all sorts of information on the history and present day of embalming.

– What made you think that embalming was something you might like to do professionally?

Growing up, I originally wanted to be a nurse but when I saw Mortuary Science on the list, I was intrigued. I have always enjoyed art and science and thought that embalming incorporated both of those aspects. I immediately fell in love with the idea of becoming an embalmer. I love the challenge and the responsibility of trying to make someone that I have never met into the person everyone remembers.

– What do people say to you when the find out what you do for a living?

Most peoples initial reaction to our profession is “Wow! You work with dead people?” or “You don’t look like you would work there”. It is always very interesting how people perceive us. They think I work in a dungeon and open people up and stuff them. When I get that type of reaction from people, I always like to elaborate on what I do. Not just the embalming parts but also the working with families. After conversing further with them, I find that their perception changes from thinking I am weird to having respect not only for what I do, but also for the mortuary profession that provides care for these hurting families.

Joanna Ramirez



I feel rewarded in different ways. As an embalmer, I always feel gratification when a family thanks me because their loved one looks better than when they were alive (these are mainly people who die of cancer or another illness). To hear that from a family is the ultimate compliment. Also, there is the reward felt from the families’ gratitude towards you. Doing everything possible to assist families through their most difficult time and just being there for them is fulfillment enough.

– What do you do off the clock to relax?

On my time off, I like to spend time with my family. Whether we are going to Palm Springs, The River, or just a good old fashion road, my husband and daughter always join me.

– How have you seen your work help and comfort families?

Most of the time it is from just simply listening to them. Some families want someone to talk to. Someone to be an ear and listen to how he or she is feeling, how much they miss their loved one or how extraordinary that person was. It is simple but it helps families so very much.

– If you could tell people 1 thing about your job, what would it be?

That I love my job and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What questions do you have for Joanna? After reading this interview, has your impression of this type of work changed?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Jenn says:

    “I love the challenge and the responsibility of trying to make someone that I have never met into the person everyone remembers.” my favorite quote, a great way to look at it, I am lucky to be learning from the best!

  2. Elsa says:

    Interesting read Joanne,
    Thank’s for representing us all:) You did a fine job!

  3. Shayna Mallik says:

    Thank You for sharing just a little more about you. Your gift is truly amazing. You always are their to help support and teach each and everyone of us here at O’Connors. Thank you for always being there to support me. I enjoy working with you each day!!!


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