Funeral director Larry Mitchell, his wife Colleen and son Bill, of Mitchell Funeral Home, have established a reputation for providing service that reflects the best of what a family business has to offer—in particular consistency, respect and quality care, which are all the more crucial for families coping with loss.
“When you call our funeral home –it doesn’t matter whether it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, or two o’clock in the morning– you’re going to get one of us in person,” says Colleen. Some funeral homes are moving away from the family-run model and that initial phone call might connect you with a representative from a subsidiary location and the people you’re working with can come from a large pool of staff, which can feel impersonal.
“Other approaches might make great sense from a business perspective,” says Larry. “But we don’t see our profession as a typical business. We’re there with you from the beginning to the end.”
Over a five-year span, local resident Honor Fiorini arranged funerals for four very close family members, including two of her own children. She chose the Mitchells each time.
The hardest thing to do is to plan a funeral for your child. But Larry and Bill made it more manageable with their calm and comforting demeanor. Larry always provides sound advice you can trust and he’s there, thinking clearly on your behalf, which is hard to do that when you are grieving. They support you and think of the little things that will help you cope.
This empathy and compassion come from ample personal and professional experience. “We’re just an average family who wants to help,” says Bill. “As soon as a family comes through the doors of our facility, we treat them like members of our family.”
Huntsville resident Nancy Alcock has also called on Larry to lead funeral arrangements for members of her family, including her husband. She can attest to the difference their approach makes. “When you lose somebody who you love dearly, it’s a very intimate experience. When a person is coming to pick up the one who you have lost, it’s more than having them come into your home, it’s having them come into your life.”
When her husband passed away, Larry was there at Nancy’s home at 3:30 in the morning, dressed in a suit, as is typical for him, which to Nancy conveyed a deep feeling of respect. “And it was seamless,” she recalls. “It was as if he wasn’t here and yet when you think about what he did— he took my husband away—what could have been an incredibly traumatizing event wasn’t.” The next day, Nancy had to go to the funeral home. “I was a basket case, unable to really think and Larry had all of the paperwork there, ready for me. I never had to ask questions, he just knew the right thing to say, the right thing to do and how to help me through the process.”
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