We were challenged to write such an article as the one below but knew there was such a need for this type of knowledge to be shared. Michelle Wiseman came well recommended to us. We did indeed find her to be very engaging, beautiful, and so knowledgeable about her industry. Wiseman is the owner and principal mortician of Wiseman Funeral Home & Chapel located in Clinton Maryland and the recently established Wiseman Funeral in Camp Springs, Maryland. We knew this article would be very timely and comforting given the space the world finds itself in.
Power exuded from Wiseman as she walked towards me to participate in a pre-interview conversation. I was extremely impressed and fascinated with this woman as I intently listened to her as she boldly discussed her industry. I gleaned from the conversation that mentoring, educating, and caring for her community was a passion of hers. I concluded the conversation with understanding that Michelle Wiseman is a woman that easily walks with power, purpose, and influence. My subsequent interview with Wiseman proved my point.
I asked, what in the world is a beautiful young lady like you doing in this business? How did this happen?
Wiseman: I think the thought of women morticians have always given people pause for thought. This profession has historically been a male dominated industry. Women started to really dominate in the 21 century. We are here to stay.
Is this a family business?
Wiseman: Yes, I am the first person in my family to graduate from mortuary college and open a funeral home. I graduated from The University of the District of Columbia in 2007. I opened the business in 2008. My parents and sisters are all very instrumental in helping to run the day to day operations. My mother is head administrator, my father is the hearse & limousine driver. My sisters Monique is HR, Marline is the chapel clergy and Monica sometimes helps with catering. I have been fortunate enough to employ other great staff members however it is largely family business.
We as a people tend to look at what you do from one aspect. But in my conversation with you, I learned there is more to it than just helping someone to rest in peace, so let us talk about the living. We talked about some things you have had to deal with such as human trafficking. We talked about how prevalent the theft of organs is. This part of the conversation led me to how you empower people in your community.
Wiseman: The death care industry is unique within itself. Morticians are certainly empathetic & sympathetic to families who have experienced loss. However, the public is not aware of one of the largest responsibilities’ morticians have. We are responsible for containing potential public safety hazards. Human remains are dangerous. They are often riddled with disease, airborne and blood-bourne pathogens. We must protect the public. Funeral homes are federally regulated by OHSA and must meet their standards to legally operate. Additionally, every state has its own governing body. One of the concerns I have right now as the owner of a funeral establishment is the increase in black market tissue & organ harvesting. As morticians we must be vigilant inspectors of human remains that enter our facilities. Black market organ harvesting is especially dangerous because of it is potential to spread disease.
So, people will buy someone’s organ and they do not know the health risks involved in buying that.
Wiseman: I speak often with community associations, churches, and social groups. I always encourage them to preplan, to get warm and fuzzy with their mortician. If someone passes in middle of the night, you do not know who is coming to get your loved one if you have not maintained a relationship with your local mortician. So, upon leaving your home or leaving your loved one’s home on the way to the morgue, they have what is called chop houses. Before they get to where they are going, they will stop off and take a heart or a liver or some blood or some tissue or some bone, anything they can do to salvage, to save a life. This is an extremely dangerous crime.
And you said there is a lot of missing black women?
Wiseman: Yes. The Washington Metropolitan area is beginning to show signs of this epidemic. Black people are missing. Some have fallen victim to sex trafficking while others have met the ill fate of black-market organ & tissue harvesting. Human organs are big ticket item on the black market.
Do you motivate and mentor women, young girls in other areas than the one that you work in?
Wiseman: Absolutely. I love being a mentor; giving away the professional gift that was given to me. Watching a young apprentice grow into a confident mortician and fly on its own is extremely rewarding to me.
Obviously, our community needs much education about what we talked about previously, pre-planning because we absolutely do not do that. So how do you get the community to be more responsive to the pre-planning?
Wiseman: I think it is most effective when you come in from an educational point. You must educate the community and let them know that if you leave this earth and the business is un-done, the government will seize the property. So, it is a matter of educating. You must promote their curiosity to the point where they feel motivated to act because they are empowered with knowledge. Secondly you pretty much ask them to leave a love letter for their family. Pre-Planning, it is just basically a love letter letting your family know where to find their business once they are gone, how they like to be remembered, how they would like to be celebrated their likes and their dislikes.
Moving on to the next subject. I asked her, what do you think of the political climate?
Wiseman: Politically there is good & bad in every party. I do not swing to far left or right either way. However, I have noticed no matter who is in office the plight of the black race remains largely the same. I believe if we opened our own business, support our own, kept funds in our own community we might be better off.
My sentiments entirely. Any final thoughts?
Wiseman: I would like to encourage our youth along a path that leads to financial independence & wealth and entrepreneurship. The business of Mortuary Science possesses all three of the above mentioned qualities. It is a solid business with deep historical roots. If managed correctly it will certainly lead to generational wealth. It is grown through the dispensing of great service and is extremely rewarding. There is no greater calling!
Awesome. Do you consider yourself a philanthropist?
Wiseman: Absolutely. In every way and any time, I can.
If someone wants to reach out to you where would they contact, you?
Wiseman: Via email, Michelle@wisemanfuneralhome.net. Or they can reach me on our office line at (301) 899-2005.
Wonderful. Thank you so much Michelle Wiseman for this interview. I appreciate you.
That concludes my interview but thought I would add a little more about the woman of power and influence.
“Michelle Reese Wiseman is the co-author of the Amazon bestselling book, Permission to Win. It is compiled of some of the most powerful advice, offered to those young women who will come after us. This copulation is from strong and successfully women who are winners in their fields. The word tool given to young women is a kind of a “heads-up”, in the business world and life in general. It encourages them to be tenacious. And it promotes health not only the body, but also in the mind, and the spirited. Wiseman holds a Degree of Applied Science, in the field of Mortuary Science, from the University of the District of Columbia and is an avid speaker. Mrs. Wiseman also sits on the Advisory Board of Academics for the University of The District of Columbia and has also been certified as a Pre-Need Funeral Counselor by the National Funeral Directors Association. She is a member the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association. She is an accomplished licensed Master Barber who uses this skill to donate her time grooming men, who are homeless or in nursing and senior care facilities.” A true philanthropist. Michelle Wiseman has been married to Lt. Colonel Dewey R. Wiseman Sr, for 20 years & they reside in the beautiful town of Bowie, located in Prince Georges County, Maryland.