Recently my family and I helped my Aunt Sandy create photo boards for my Uncle Jim’s funeral. He passed away after a courageous battle against leukemia. He and Aunt Sandy have lived in Madison, Wisconsin my whole life, and I spent a lot of time with them growing up and while I was in college. He was known for his gentle spirit, impeccable style and savvy business sense (he founded a bank nearly 25 years ago).
My aunt wanted to create 10 photo boards capturing relationships and memories from his nearly 80 years here on earth. I spent two days helping her with them and took some photos of the process.
Photo boards are an important component to any funeral, but also can be a wonderful addition to a birthday party, graduation, retirement celebration, etc.
Preparing the boards for photos
Some funeral homes will provide boards to use for photos. If you are making your own boards, cover foam core with fabric. Select a plain fabric or one with a small pattern, so that the fabric will enhance the photos and not detract from them. The fabric will hold easily with clear packing tape. The photos can then be attached with thumb tacks.
Be sure to verify with the funeral home how many easels they have available. You don’t want to prepare many boards, only to find that they can’t be displayed well.
Assembling the photo boards
Theme: Determine the themes you would like for the boards ahead of putting them together. This will help you sort photos and determine if you need more boards. For instance, we knew we wanted to do a friends board, but after pulling all the photos, we ended up with two boards dedicated to friendship.
Title: Print titles for the boards so that people know what they are looking at. Individual captions are not necessary, but can add context. Some of the titles we used included Young Jim, Our Jim, Friends, Golf and Cars, Jim and Sandy and Family.
Photos: When selecting photos, remember that every photo of your loved one does not need to be on the boards. Instead, choose photos that capture your loved one’s story and spirit – photos of them growing up, with family, friends and co-workers. Also include special vacations and hobbies.
For the Funeral Home
Arrangement: Consider the order you would like the boards to be displayed. Do you want certain boards near other items? Do you want them to go chronologically? By deciding this in advance, you won’t have to worry about it on the day of the funeral. We had this canvas made at at local Walgreens and had it displayed next to the board of my Aunt and Uncle together, along with their wedding album.
Transportation: It is a good idea to slip the boards in large trash bags so that they don’t get damaged in transport. It also will prevent them from being impacted by any possible weather elements, like wind or rain.
Celebrating Your Loved One
Though it might feel overwhelming to go through photos and assemble photo boards, these displays are worth the effort. They are appreciated by those who attend the funeral and are great conversation starters. Photo boards are a wonderful tribute to a love one at a funeral.