By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston is pleased to announce the recent addition of a new staff member. Connie Jones, who will be handling pre-need arrangements for families, is also a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She says that making arrangements in advance is becoming more and more popular and the funeral industry has realized that pre-arrangements are quite beneficial for grieving family members.
“There are many choices to be made when a family member is lost, and it is often a topic that is not openly discussed … making it even more difficult for those left behind to decide what their loved one might have wanted,” she explained. “Sometimes death comes unexpectedly, and depending on the age of the deceased, often children in their 20s, 30s and even 40s have no idea what to do! Many times they don’t even know complete family history that is required for an obituary … or cemetery information … or how many death certificates are needed and for what purpose they are required. These kind of questions only add to their stress, and those are just a few of the reasons why having those decisions made in advance are helpful. Pre-arrangements can make it much simpler for loved ones who are already devastated. If it is your first experience with this situation, you really have no idea how many decisions there are to make!”
Connie will be hosting a “Lunch & Learn” in the banquet room at Eat ‘n Park Restaurant in Bridgeport at 11 a.m. on March 17th. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. A free lunch will be served, but more importantly, helpful educational information on pre-arranging will be offered. This will be followed by a question and answer period so that attendees can gather as much information as they desire. This event is being shared with Davis Funeral Home; it is open to anyone and completely free of charge! Come, have lunch and learn how pre-arrangements can put your mind at ease as well as reducing anxiety for those left behind. RSVP by calling Connie at Dorsey Funeral Home – 304-592-1358.
Connie Jones grew up in St. Mary’s, WV and formerly worked as a secretary in the school system. She changed careers later in life, going into funeral service because it was always something she wanted to do. So, in mid-life, she returned to school and earned her degree in Mortuary Science. Now, with three years’ experience, she has settled in Clarksburg and is looking forward to helping families in the area.
“I describe myself as a ‘comforter’, and I find it very satisfying to work one-on-one with families on matters that can benefit them and their loved ones. It fits my personality,” she said, “and I am so glad that numbers are growing for women in this service. Percentages of women working in this industry were once quite low – around 5% forty years ago – but those numbers have grown considerably. And I am delighted to be among those women who are profoundly devoted to this profession.”
Are female numbers in this business growing because women are very detail-oriented? Is it because they are typically very compassionate? Connie doesn’t have the answer, but she says that at a very tender age, she became familiar with what it meant to lose a loved one.
“I was never sheltered from funerals as a child; I was exposed to them. And I was also inspired by my grandmother’s devotion to a club that provided meals to families that had lost someone. Perhaps by seeing her minister to grief-stricken families, I found my calling there as well. It really is a ministry,” she added.
There are many options available. Connie is licensed by the state and by the Attorney General’s office as well as by an agency to sell pre-need insurance. Those who can afford it can also pay up-front in full – or – payment options are also available.
“Some folks may not be aware that pre-arrangements can even be made unfunded!” she continued. “All arrangements can be made in advance without any payment; however this does not lock in a price.But when pre-needs are funded, prices are set at that time, which is not only a good investment, but can often eliminate hardships later.”
Cremation is another option for some, and this, too, will be explained at the ‘Lunch & Learn’. For example, cremation requires all of the deceased’s children’s consent, and this often takes time and sometimes there are conflicts. However, Connie enlightened, this is all simplified by pre-arrangements.
These are just a few of the concerns that will be discussed at the ‘Lunch & Learn’ event. Come – listen – ask questions – and learn. Perhaps addressing arrangements in advance may be something for you to consider.