More with Cheryl Thompson-Morrow of Thompson Funeral Home, Broadman, OH.
20 Years Later: “It’s been a good career choice, the initial transition was difficult, because many of the families insisted on working with my father, and weren’t accustomed to a female funeral director.
On Technology: “Technology has really freed our time up, in that in the old days, before we could forward calls, my dad would stay home all weekend to catch the phone.”
Cheryl is uncomfortable with casket retailing on the internet, and would like to educate her clients regarding funeral costs and the value of a funeral service. “I want to do more with our website, add educational content and market our services.”
On Cremation: “You know, when I started working at the funeral home, my dad had one urn, and it was in a dusty box. Unopened.” Despite being in a pretty traditional area, cremation is definitely on an upswing. “March’s services were all cremation.” Most of Thompson’s cremation families choose traditional viewing with casket rental at the funeral home. Cheryl usually discourages the scattering of ashes until a later date, to make sure the family is comfortable with the decision. It’s pretty mixed on families that choose burial, or to take the ashes home.
On Changes in the Industry: “Besides cremation, families are buying more keepsakes, and there’s more interest in pets.” It used to be that the funeral homes in our area were denomination specific, there’s more cross-over now. Besides more women in the funeral profession, I see a lot more women in the clergy. The other day, I realized that we were doing a service with a female funeral director, and two female funeral clergy…there was a time, that was unheard of!”
“We haven’t had a lot of requests for catering services or food.” Although, she did have a family from California that wanted to bring “snacks” in before the visitation, and wound up setting up a full buffet and bar. It was no problem she said, but the family took care of everything.
Cheryl sees funeral service as a life long career and says, “I’ll probably work until I die.” “My dad never got to retire, and in the my pre-kid days, I was at the funeral home ALL the time, even coming in on weekends I didn’t have to work, just to make sure everything was alright.” Cheryl and another funeral director trade weekends on call.
“Now, I realize life is too short! We have a cottage at the lake that’s only an hour away and I want to spend time with the kids, while they still want to!” Cheryl has two children, 11 and 12.