When Gregory T. Burrell was 8, he served as a pallbearer for an 8-year-old friend who drowned in a Florida lake.
He became fascinated by the funeral process.
"I started going to people's funerals I didn't even know," he said. By 11, he said, "I knew I was going to be a funeral director."
Burrell, now 51 and the owner of Terry Funeral Home Inc. in West Philadelphia, was installed last month as president of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, a trade group for black funeral directors.