Most African-Americans are familiar with Black homegoing ceremonies, or funerals as they’re called by others. But the services provided by Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas, Texas and Tallulah, Louisiana, as profiled by the TLC show Best Funeral Ever are some of the most elaborate in the nation.
John Beckwith Jr. knows all about those kinds of services. He’s the owner of Golden Gate Funeral Home in Texas and Louisiana whose over-the-top funeral services are featured on Best Funeral Ever on TLC. If you’ve missed out thus far, you can watch special showings on December 23 and 24 at 10 p.m. Beckwith has done funerals that included a guy buried in a smoker-like casket, a former Olympian whose funeral included a medal stand, and a funeral that incorporated Santa Claus.
He says that there is literally no request he can’t fulfill, although some of his personal religious beliefs mean he won’t personally participate in all of them.
“Golden Gate funeral home would never turn down anyone,” Beckwith told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “Some of them personally I would not go to because of my beliefs, but I have staff members and people available to have any kind of service.”
For a disabled man who never could partake of an amusement park, Golden Gate sent the man on his last ride on a roller coaster. It’s part of the norm at Beckwith’s funeral home.
“It’s all about celebration,” Beckwith says. “We celebrate life, not really mourn the death. He never really had a chance to ride roller coasters because of his physical disability.”
Golden Gate Funeral Home started out in a small Texas town in 1980, founded by Beckwith’s father. But the TLC show was his brainstorm.