The business of death

ST. CHARLES, Minn. (FOX 47)– The word “mortician” might bring to mind frightening images of skeletons or men lurking around graveyards, but in the state of Minnesota, the number of females pursuing careers as morticians is exploding. 

It’s a job title St .Charles native Ashley Hoff never thought would be on her name tag.

“I always said there was no way that I am becoming a funeral director,” said funeral director Ashley Hoff.

It’s a job she was quite literally born to do, growing up above her family’s funeral home until she was in second grade.

“Our playroom was the chapel when there was nothing going on. Kids would ask questions about it, but we didn’t know any different,” said Hoff.

She changed her tune after a visit home from college, where she was studying nursing.

“I was back home one weekend and some lady told me about how my dad and grandpa had really helped her when her husband died. That just kind of changed my whole way of thinking,” said Hoff.

Ashley is not alone on her journey. The number of females pursuing careers as morticians in the state of Minnesota has exploded over the past four decades.

In 1975, only 5% of students enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s mortuary science program were women, according to the University of Minnesota.

This year, 68% of students enrolled are women.

It’s a job that is about much more than just headstones and hearses for Hoff.

“We see families at their worst. When someone they love has died, that is unimaginable pain that they are going through. We try to make the funeral for their loved one as memorable as possible, as meaningful as possible,” said Hoff.

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