Live streams of funeral services help people grieve during the pandemic

Chicago News

COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Ill. —  A south suburban business owner forced to reimagine his work amidst the pandemic is finding a new way to help people grieve in the process.

The economic turmoil triggered by the coronavirus crisis has forced businesses big and small to find new ways to survive, and for Jonathan Bullitt it meant shifting his focus from printing to video production. 

Based in Country Club Hills, his 11-year-old business “Bullitt Print Solutions” will print everything from posters to pamphlets, and menus to memorials.

“We do print – it’s not just programs, I’ve done wedding invites, card copies, posters for doctor’s offices, plenty of things for churches, weddings, any type of print,” Bullitt said. 

Bullitt grew up in Richton Park, and as a high school student at Rich South would design flyers and  banners for clubs and parties. He had a natural talent for graphic design, and perfected it taking classes in college while majoring in business at NIU.  

The two passions came together after a cousin passed away and he was frustrated by the mundane look of the funeral program. 

“I was just like, man, I could definitely, I want to make something special for my family member who passed away, so that’s been my goal and how I started the whole business,” Bullitt said. 

The funeral director took notice, and Bullitt’s business took off. He started focusing on creating high-quality programs for funerals as a sort of keepsake that tell the story of a person’s life in words and pictures. 

Then this spring, the pandemic changed the way we grieve. Public health requirements limited large gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus.  

“The pandemic – a lot of people needed to get the service viewed,” Bullitt said.

For a while funerals were restricted to 10 people, and even now the number has eased to 50 it’s still not enough for everyone who might want to say goodbye. 

So the pandemic forced the printer to pivot to offering streaming services as well.

“We wanted to start being able to let the people who can’t make it to the service be able to view it from a platform,” Bullitt said.  

Bullitt said he now employs seven people, and he may need a few more. There’s so much demand for his work he says he hasn’t had a day off in nearly a month.  

“I want to make sure I can take care of each family that needs the services, that’s my goal,” Bullitt said. 

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