Article Category: Pillars | Places | SC31

Funetorium | All Things Funereal

Posted Friday, May 21
Written By Todd Harra, CFSP
Southern Calls, Vol. 31, March 2021

Attila Bethlenfalvy stands out in a crowd of funeral directors. With his gauged ears, shaven head and bushy, peppered beard, Bethlenfalvy doesn’t look the part, and he’s not a funeral director, though he arguably knows more about funerary antiques and ephemera than any person alive. His collection of funeral memorabilia is certainly one of the largest in the world.

Bethlenfalvy has parlayed his love of all things funerary into a massive following on his Facebook page – Funetorium. But Bethlenfalvy shies from the spotlight, never appearing on Funetorium.

“It’s not about me,” he explained. “It’s about the historical significance of the object.”

49K original mile unrestored black with two-tone green interior 1960 Miller Meteor Landau Panoramic Duplex as found in a small town Virginia funeral home garage having been parked since 1968

Bethlenfalvy’s interest in funeral service began as a boy with the book “American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900” by Thomas McPherson. The adolescent was riveted by the stately professional cars on the glossy pages.

“I had every single vehicle memorized by the time I was 12,” Bethlenfalvy recalled.

He checked the book out so many times, the librarian at the Cleveland public library told him he couldn’t check it out anymore.

“She said it was inappropriate,” he explained. “Instead, she gave me this book on ‘70s shag wagons. Talk about inappropriate.”

Ever the collector, he added, “I’ve tried to get my hands on that book [about shag wagons] but I have yet to locate a copy.”

Portion of late 1800s through early 1900s embalming pieces Simpson Funeral Museum, Chatham, Virginia, Loaned for display

The remainder of this article is reserved for subscribers only

In addition to receiving all of our quarterly magazines by mail, subscribers to Southern Calls have exclusive access to additional online articles, as well as ability to read all Southern Calls magazine articles as they come available.

Get your One Year or Two Year subscription today, or login here to continue viewing the rest of the article. 

Southern Calls Volume 31, March 2021 Issue

Order this issue

Southern Calls Issue 31

In stock

Articles Relating to Issue 31

Author-Undertaker | Todd Harra

Author-Undertaker | Todd Harra

“It’s such an honor to be able to walk with people during their time of need,” said Todd Harra, vice president of McCrery & Harra Funeral Homes and Crematory in Wilmington, Delaware. “But I never pictured myself doing this.” Harra has deep roots in the profession,…

Thomas Lynch | Bringing the Living & the Dead Closer

Thomas Lynch | Bringing the Living & the Dead Closer

Thomas Lynch is a man who needs no introduction. He’s well known—even famous, though he’d certainly argue that—in undertaking, poetic, and literary circles. Lynch won the American Book Award in 1998 for his breakout collection of essays, The Undertaking: Life Studies…

Issue 31 Available Now

Issue 31 Available Now

This is such an incredible issue! Join us as we celebrate The Profession with three amazing People, Places and Passions articles, told by our award-winning writers and brought to life with exceptional photography – you’ll read it cover to cover, again, and again!…

Other Recent Articles

Lisa Scott-Coleman

Lisa Scott-Coleman

It was 1990 and Lisa Scott-Coleman was in the kitchen busy making dinner, unaware that her life was about to take an entirely different trajectory. She had a good job, a management role for a medical company, and was about to get married. Scott-Coleman’s fiancé,...

read more
The Heritage of Hart’s

The Heritage of Hart’s

Just prior to the dawn of the 20th century and nearly two decades following Reconstruction, Jesse B. Hart founded his modest mortuary in a small, single-room structure on Mulberry Street in Macon, Georgia. Originally operated as Keating’s Funeral Parlour, the local...

read more
Issue 33 Available Now

Issue 33 Available Now

It’s already September, the leaves will be changing soon, and the next issue of Southern Calls will be arriving in your mailbox! There’s a lot to look forward to… first, we have chief of the Air Force’s Casualty Headquarters, S. Todd Rose, with a thoughtful story of...

read more
Anna Wilbert Breaux

Anna Wilbert Breaux

Fifth-generation Funeral Director Anna Wilbert Breaux has spent her life learning the funeral profession. As a youngster, her first classes were held around the dinner table when relatives came for Sunday dinner. The building previously housing the funeral home...

read more
Issue 32 Available Now

Issue 32 Available Now

Our June issue is out now! Read about Louisiana lady, Anna Wilbert Breaux, a 5th generation funeral director with a passion for saltwater fishing that provides leadership for a historic business with a service mark that dates back to 1850. Up next, Hart's Mortuary...

read more
Author-Undertaker | Todd Harra

Author-Undertaker | Todd Harra

“It’s such an honor to be able to walk with people during their time of need,” said Todd Harra, vice president of McCrery & Harra Funeral Homes and Crematory in Wilmington, Delaware. “But I never pictured myself doing this.” Harra has deep roots in the profession,...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine