An Interview with Funeral Director, Ray Rhodes
How long have you been a funeral director? What were you before you became a funeral director?
I have been a funeral director for about 8 years. I worked for Coca-Cola as a Sales Manager.
What led you to this profession?
I started out part time working for Found and Sons and liked the business. Sam Found asked me if I wanted to become a Director. I really liked what I was doing and felt like I was helping people, so I decided to go for it.
What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
Helping families that are having the most difficult time in their lives.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Every morning I view all the cases we have in our care to make sure every individual is being cared for appropriately. After that, it’s emails, giving out work assignments for the day to my staff, checking on the services that are scheduled to make sure we have completed any tasks that are needed (confirming ministers, church availability, staffing, etc..), transporting individuals for cremation, embalming as needed, and reviewing building maintenance.
What is one misconception that you think people have about funeral directors?
That funeral directors don’t care about their loved one and that we are only interested in selling the most expensive services to them. With every family, I try to provide them with the best information available for them to make decisions that they are comfortable and satisfied with.
If there is one thing that you could inform people about in regard to this industry, what would it be?
Start planning now! We will all eventually need the services of a funeral home, whether it is for ourselves or for a loved one. It is much easier to make decisions about what services you will want before someone passes away. Making those decisions after someone has passed is inherently more difficult when you are in a difficult emotional situation.
What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a Funeral Director?
Work in the field first, even part time. Yes the industry is interesting, but it is not for everyone. Most directors have a preference on the types of duties they enjoy, and some that are difficult for them. Without hands-on experience, it is difficult to fully understand what this vocation requires of an individual.
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?
Being a funeral director does not always leave a lot of time and energy for personal time. Take the time when you can. You will spend many days dealing with other people’s personal crisis’s, but it is important to separate your personal life from this. This is not difficult for me; however, it can be very taxing on some people.
What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Fredericksburg area?
Fredericksburg is a great place to work and bring up a family. There is a huge amount of history here, and many things to do as well. Of course, this area is growing, but it still has the home town feel about it.
Who is one person that inspires you?
The person that inspires me most would be Jesus Christ. Without forcing my religious views on anyone, he is my pick because he preached love and caring for all people. I think we all should take time to look at ourselves and strive to overcome our faults and help others to overcome theirs.