Chicago Funeral Home Director: ‘These Kids Don’t Expect to Live a Full Life’

Ron Mott, MSNBC, June 20, 2012

Business is disturbingly steady for Spencer Leak, Sr.

It’s not that he is unaccustomed to being busy. After all, he is a successful funeral home director with two locations and his family has been in the funeral business for almost 80 years.

It’s just that many of the people arriving for their “homegoing,” as the services often are called, are so young. Leak said he’s been doing upwards of 125 funerals a year for homicide victims, many of them young adults, some just teenagers, who are victims of the recent surge in violence rocking this city.

“These kids don’t expect to live a full life,” said Leak, a former executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections. “You get about a thousand other kids who come to these funerals. They see how it’s celebrated and they think this is how I’ll be celebrated when I get shot.”

Chicago’s police commissioner has pointed to gang-related conflicts as the driving force behind the recent surge in gun deaths. From the start of this year through June 18, at least 240 people have been killed, according to the Chicago Police Department.


Homicides are up about 35 percent over last year at a time when violent crime nationwide is trending down. U.S. violent crime rates fell in 2011 for the fifth straight year, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data.


“It’s a sad indictment on us,” said Leak. “The spike in crime we’re seeing now is not something that’s surprising to me. I’m talking to at least two-to-three mothers a week whose kids were killed in the streets of Chicago, and I’m just one funeral director.”

Leak believes the solution to reducing the incidence of murder is multifaceted, adding that police are doing all they can. But he cites a lack of religious upbringing among many of today’s young black men as a major factor in the plague of violence.



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  • The__Bobster
  • The only way for them to avoid violence is to avoid blacks/hispanics. Pretty hard for them to do.

  • Good money to be made in the black funeral business.  All an enterprising white man has to do is
    1)  Buy lots of black face paint
    2)  Watch lots of MTV so you can talk black
    3)  Learn to love fried chicken, collard greens and waddymelon washed down with a foty

    On a more serious note . . . life expectancy in the jungle is not very high.  You can’t expect to create totally uncivilized conditions in an American city that replicate the darkest jungle in the Congo . . . and avoid shortened life-spans.

    If you act like animals, expect to die like them.

    Bored Chimpmaster

  • JackKrak

    I suspect Mr. Leak’s experierience in the D.O.C. taught him that these animals are never going to change and there is money to be made when they check out.

    I am curious to know who pays for the send-off, though. I’m quite sure that 90% of the people he’s talking about have never paid for any costs associated with their lives from day one. Free clinic, medicaid, food stamps, welfare, govt housing, etc. (naturally, they’ve somehow managed to have the most current Air Jordans for the last 15 years and never fall more than one degree behind the fashion curve….). Even the most modest funeral arrangements can be absurdly expensive and let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that 35 year-old career welfare mothers would consider anything less than the most over the top, tacky, gaudy & generally black funeral possible. Who the hell is paying for this?

  • Shawn_thefemale

    see how it’s celebrated and they think this is how I’ll be celebrated
    when I get shot.”

    I’d be happy to oblige them.

  • There’s probably a strong link between death angst and general intelligence. I doubt the average 85 IQ black appreciated death any more than a 10 or 11 year old white child.

  • Chicago’s well-tanned citizenry is facing a dilemma.

    Either they “keep it real,” and live a short life span.  Or they act white, and life a nice long full life.

    That’s a hard choice if you don’t have much of a frontal lobe.  What to do, what to do.