I became a licensed funeral director in Pennsylvania in 1998 and then Virginia in 1999. It’s all I’ve ever done since I graduated high school in 1993. During the period between college and Mortuary school I worked at an undergarment company called Bestform.
What led you to this profession?
I wanted to be a medical examiner or pathologist at first but during my first semester of college I realized I couldn’t handle 10 years of college and went to a funeral home to try it out and have been doing it ever since.
What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
When a family thanks you for all that you’ve done and tells you that you’ve made the process a lot easier than expected.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day, honestly. I could make arrangements at 10:00 AM, embalm at noon then clean the chapel to get ready for a visitation then possibly go on a removal and make arrangements again. If it’s not that, I could sit at my desk catching up on paper work for a solid 8 hours. It’s something different everyday. No service is the same. No families are the same. You have to be good at multi-tasking and talking with people.
What is one misconception that you think people have about funeral directors?
That funeral directors are just directors. People don’t think that we also scrub bathrooms, embalm, put on makeup and casket people. We also put up and take down tents if we need to, mark off graves in the cemeteries, fill in as pallbearers, shovel snow, wash cars, etc.
If there is one thing that you could inform people about in regard to this industry, what would it be?
That funeral directors work long, hard hours. We do this because it is gratifying to help those when they need it most.
What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a funeral director?
I always encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Educate yourself and just start working part time at a funeral home to get a preview of what your life will be like. It’s a lot of crazy hours and you really have to dedicate yourself to the profession, but it is a very rewarding career.
How does being a funeral director play into your life compared to having a “normal” job How do you manage to keep a good balance of work life and personal life?
It’s very hard to plan things. You just never know what you’ll be doing from one moment to the next. Your emotions get involved and it’s hard to shut things off in your head sometimes. When you wake up in the middle of the night and your singing, “How Great thou Art” in your head, you know it’s time for a mental health day.
What do you enjoy most about living in Culpeper?
I love Culpeper. I really believe this is where I’m meant to be. I love the small town atmosphere and getting to know everyone in the community. What are some things that you enjoy doing in the area? I love taking the kids to the parks, including Mountain Run Lake. I love hiking the beautiful mountains we have like Old Rag and White Oak Falls, and most of all I enjoy eating at all of Culpeper’s fabulous restaurants.
Who is one person that inspires you/what is one quote that inspires you?
My husband inspires me. His positive attitude and great work ethic if the reason this funeral home has done so well. He loves his community and loves to give back to his community and all the family’s we serve. He was and still is my mentor. He taught me everything I know and I am grateful for that.