New York State Funeral Directors Association

Inventing Possibilities

Not long after a near-fatal crash, second-generation funeral director David Murphy considered leaving the profession.

A severed spinal column, broken bones, organ injuries and temporary paralysis left him a bit less agile than he’d been before.

Today, after six years of recovery, Murphy can pick up and transport more bodies to funeral homes in one day than most funeral directors.

“I’m the most powerful funeral director in the world,” he said with a laugh.

He invented a device that loads precious cargo into vehicles with the push of a button.

LOAD ALONE

“I was just trying to get back to work,” said Murphy, 51, who was determined to resume earning a paycheck as soon as he could.

He started taking on removal work – picking up the deceased for funeral homes. Murphy Demo II

The challenge of this type of work - for someone recovering from major injury – became evident one day when he went to pick up a deceased person who weighed about 500 pounds.

The stretcher collapsed while he was inside an elevator and he was forced to call for some help.

For later jobs, he’d work around his friends’ schedules so that he could get some assistance at the end of the process. It was costing him $50 a job.

That’s all changed now, thanks to Murphy’s new LoadAlone mortuary transport system.

He’s got a patent pending on the setup that’s affixed to the interior of vans and other transport vehicles.

It’s not a permanent device – it can be removed with a few steps. It includes an electric winch powered by the vehicle’s electrical receptacle.

Murphy said even cardboard cremation containers – cumbersome and awkward due to the material they’re made of – are no problem.

“It slides right up. You don’t have to wait for a second person and combine your schedules. Anybody can do it all by themselves,” Murphy said.

Although he’d earned degrees in Environmental Chemistry and Biology and studied Ecology and Environmental Technology, Murphy decided to work at his father’s Paul L. Murphy & Sons Funeral Home in Newark, NY.

Murphy said he’s always had an entrepreneurial mind. He recalls pondering caffeinated beer and a coffee machine that could make individual cups.

Then he watched Keurig and other products take off in popularity.

“This time .. I said I’m going to just hold onto this and run with it,” Murphy said.

DEMANDING WORK

Those who have served as a pall bearer at a funeral know how difficult it is being one of six people bearing the weight.

Most people don’t realize many funeral directors go solo when they pick up the deceased.

Murphy is hopeful his new invention will draw interest among the large number of funeral directors who simply bear the pain of their work.

Back pain is one constant he recalls from working in the memorial monument business.

“The whole nature of what we’re doing is pretty straining on our bodies. I was always at the chiropractor’s,” he said.

Many funeral directors work as long as they’re able – so Murphy believes his LoadAlone device will go a long way.

“This will help people work further into their careers with less physical problems as they age. And it evens the playing field for women and older folks,” Murphy said.


 

 

 

 

 

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