Resources | Ken Ordenstein Funerals



Frequently Asked Questions

Is there financial help if my dad died from COVID19 in the past year?  Yes! Congress authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals who incurred funeral and cemetery expenses as a result of the loss of someone due to COVID-19.                                  FEMA began accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12th through FEMA's dedicated call center. 844-684-6333|TTY:800-462-7585.                              Hours of operation:  Monday - 


8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time.                                           

You will be able to call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get an application started with help from FEMA's representatives. 

No online applications will be accepted.  Multilingual services will be available.

                                                                                      In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation                                                                                                                      For more info: have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes. If you have further questions related to funerals, please contact us and we will do our best to give you the most reliable information possible.

Can we still have a funeral during the COVID19 pandemic?

Of course.  The State of Hawaii has shifted its focus to manage COVID19 as endemic and not a pandemic. Current CDC, State, County, and venues like your church and company guidelines all play a part in keeping people safe.

Can you embalm the body so we can have a viewing during this time?

Yes, viewing is absolutely fine.  Guidelines to keep viewers safe from infecting each other will play a part in keeping people safe.  We can take the body of your loved one home or to the church for a viewing or ceremony. Many have opted for a viewing and ceremony at the funeral home, Burial or Cremation can take place either after the viewing and ceremony at the church or funeral hom

How do you keep the family safe when they come in to make arrangements?

It is fine to meet in person at your home.  Face masks are optional. We ask that those with a runny nose, scratchy throat and or a temperature not attend the conference.  I also do arrangements on-line via WebEx meetings.  It’s easy to use and it is encrypted from the start to the finish.  The Department of Education uses WebEx for distance learning so many households already have the application.  In face-to-face meetings, we follow current State and County guidelines for everyone's safety.

What are families doing during this time.

Many are having larger family and community gatherings for viewing and ceremony at the funeral home or church Some are having a small viewing for family and invited guests then private services before burial or cremation.  Others have a visitation, memorial service and burial after the body is cremated. All can still commemorate their dead and highlight who they are, their special relationships, spirituality, affiliations and interests. Many are choosing our specially designed interactive website to post pictures and memories, stories and even videos on their own webpage on our website which is free. Others are honoring life by placing expanded family funded obituaries in the Star Advertiser that tell stories and highlight a person's family, work and community legacies. One change we see in tradition revolves around food and beverage service.  People continue to provide food to go, passing out bento, plate lunches, bags of snakes and drinks as guests leave and return to their cars after the service. People are slowly returning to a reception after services at the funeral home, church hall or restaurant after the service or burial. 

What should I do if the death occurs at home in the middle of the night or on the weekend?  First call the ambulance service and the police.  Follow their instructions.  We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the police or EMTs ask you to contact the funeral home all you need to do is place a call to us at (808) 254 6222.  If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within an hour and a half. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye, it's totally acceptable. Then we will come when your time is right.

What if a death occurs while away from home like in Las Vegas, or visiting family in Tacoma? Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. Contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community. They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent.

What funeral plans do you honor? We honor any funeral plan from any funeral home depending on their processes and procedures.  We also accept specialized funeral insurance.  Certain conditions apply. 

What is a funeral? The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. Rabbi Earl Grollman says "Grief shared is grief diminished".  It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral and saying goodbye the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.

Can my funeral service be personal? Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at (808) 254-6222 to explore the possibilities.

Why should we have a public viewing? “But I just talked to him on the phone last week!”  “She was alert and happy this morning!”  “We were supposed to go to lunch on Tuesday!”  There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Many times, it's simply to say goodbye. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well.

Why do we need an obituary notice? It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the Internet. Your funeral director will place it for you.

What do funeral directors do? Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, register the death, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body.

As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.  Visit Grief and Healing on this website.

The funeral director lifts the burden off family shoulders on the day of the funeral.  Family is free to honor their loved one and share the day with family and friends instead of worrying about the details of the day.  While directing funeral and memorial services funeral director's use their knowledge, and experience to manage the flow of people, manage time, and make sure the visitation and ceremony go according to plan and ensure the remains are treated with respect and dignity.

What is the purpose of embalming?

My grandfather, Walter said the death robs us of our dignity.  He believed embalming helps us remember the person who died like we knew them in life by restoring their dignity.  Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. It sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.  Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.

Is embalming mandatory by law? No. But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need be observed.  We require embalming as a practical necessity for a funeral with viewing.

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral? No.  The first priority is honoring the dead by honoring their life with a funeral service.  Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.

Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen? Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.  The other is burial and the third is shipping the body out of state.

Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing? No, it has been pretty stable in Hawai'i for decades.

How much does a funeral cost?                                                                         Funeral and Memorial Services can cost between $15,500 and $1,600 depending on the services a family chooses, where it’s located and what casket and or urn is chosen.  This includes all professional services, including transfer of remains, care of the body embalming or cremation, use of facilities for viewing and ceremony or memorial service, the purchase of cremation container, specially designed cremation casket and urn or casket for burial, hearse and committal service at the grave.  It can cost considerably more or considerably less depending on a family's wants and needs.  Most family spend about $8,700.00 for a funeral. We provide Direct Cremation choices. Direct Cremation includes basic service of funeral director and staff, registering the death, a basic casket or container, and transporting the deceased to a cemetery or crematorium with no funeral or memorial service for under $1,600.  We provide such a wide range of choices and prices to meet everyone's needs.

Why are funerals so expensive? In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. Not only that, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. 

Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.  What is important is we provide a wide range of choices and prices from over $15,500 to just under $1,600 to meet the needs and wants of everyone we serve.

What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging? While most funeral homes provide outstanding services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at, using the online complaint form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau, or your state consumer protection office.

Who pays for funerals for the indigent?

Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals.  In the State of Hawai'i the Department of Human Services makes provision for the indigent. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased a respectable burial.

Cemetery Common Questions

The answers below are here because these are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to call us. We're here to provide the information you need, when you need it.

Are cemeteries running out of space?Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, are at a premium in some regions.

What is Perpetual Care?"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.

Can the vault be personalized?Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.

Are there vaults for cremated remains?Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.

Can two cremations be performed at once?Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

Can the family witness the cremation?Yes, for a nominal fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?No, embalming is not required for burial. It is always your choice. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

Must I purchase a burial vault?In most areas of the country, state or local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion of being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum, chapel or in a garden setting, is constructed with numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.