5 People and Businesses Changing Death in Florida

We’re having a moment here — a moment where many people and organizations are encouraging conversations about death and dying and finding nearly infinite ways to celebrate and memorialize our lost loved ones.

There are new companies springing up all over the country to try and meet the needs of those who want better and different choices for the end-of-life. Death doulas, unusual things to do with remains and greener options are in demand.

Here are five people to know in Florida for their work in changing the face of death and dying.

Todd Barber and Don Brawley, Eternal Reefs

Barber and Brawley were college roommates at the University of Georgia who loved to dive off the Florida Keys on breaks and saw significant reef deterioration and degradation over the years. They decided to do something about it and, over the next decade or so, they patented mold systems that closely mimicked natural reef formations.

In 1998, Brawley’s father-in-law quipped that when his time came, he wanted to be in “one of Don’s reef balls” rather than in the ground with a “bunch of old dead people.” Shortly after he made this request, he passed away, Don fulfilled his wish, and Eternal Reefs was born.

The company has placed more than 2,000 reef memorials off the U.S. coastlines, providing a service that is as healing for families as for the sea.

Nada Frazier, Death Cafe of Northeast Florida

Frazier runs the monthly Death Cafe of Northeast Florida virtually from the Jacksonville area. The end-of-life doula says the cafes are an opportunity to “gather with curiosity and respect to talk in a confidential and relaxed environment” about death and dying. The objective of the death cafes is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their finite lives. They are typically held on the first Monday of the month.

Ashley Johnson, Loyal Hands

Ashley Johnson’s deathcare career was inspired by growing up in a low socio-economic neighborhood that lacked advocacy on how to deal with end-of-life practices. She is a licensed direct disposer and a trained end-of-life doula. She currently serves on the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance’s board of directors.

After a decade in the death care industry, Ashley launched the Loyal Hands consulting agency. Her recent TEDx talk addresses ways death tech is changing how we view mortality.

Andrew McCann, Angel’s Ink

Soon after the death of his daughter Charlotte, Andrew McCann got a memorial “ash tattoo” on the advice of his brother. He told North Central Florida public media station WUFT, “It was a way for her to be literally and figuratively a part of us forever – literally inside of us.” Soon after, McCann and his wife Carly founded their own memorial tattoo ink company, Angel’s Ink.

As a direct cremation company, Solace often encounters interesting people and businesses in our field. We recently launched in Jacksonville, Florida, and are excited to meet others like ourselves expanding and normalizing the conversation about death and dying and empowering families with important end-of-life information.

Solace Cremation offers online arrangements for direct cremation services with one flat price and 24/7 customer service. Solace proudly serves Jacksonville, Portland and Southern California. Learn more.

Share This