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Funeral Directors: Modern Heroes

The Funeral Industry has numerous misconceptions and misunderstandings. A lot of people think of a Funeral Director or Counselor, or just any employee therein, and imagine a morbid, evil being who enjoys being surrounded by dead people. Working in the business, however, I’ve personally found most Funeral Directors and Counselors to be some of the most caring, loving and thoughtful people I’ve ever met. Their goal is to make your loved one’s final wishes come true, and do so to the best of their ability.

To clear the air some, we interviewed our very own Funeral Director – Linda Darrow. Read her thoughts and views, and who knows, maybe it will inspire you to have a career in the Funeral Industry one day!

First, here is a little background on Linda – she was born and raised in Needles, California. She lived there her whole life with the exception of when she attended college. She has two sons, who are in currently attending college at CSUSB.

Tell me when you first knew you wanted to be a Funeral Director:

I always had an interest, so I looked in to requirements for college enrolled and have been in

The Funeral Industry since 1986. I attended Cypress College of Mortuary Science in 1985 to 1986. It was only a one-year program at the time plus a two-year apprenticeship.

When your friends/family heard about your career path, what did they say?

It was a shock to family and friends. After graduation, I attended California State University of San Bernardino to become a Teacher and then took the path to Mortuary Science.

Was there a moment in your life that influenced your decision?

Mr. Matt Carpenter Owner/Funeral Director/embalmer of Carpenter Mortuary in Needles

was a great influence. I was interested in the industry and he took the time to explain all aspects of the business – from the first phone call, receiving decedent from place of death, arrangement with the family, coordination of funeral service, embalming, conducting funeral service and completing documents.

What was your first experience like as a Funeral Director?

Dick Jensen from Jensen-Carpenter Mortuary gave me opportunity to serve my two-year apprenticeship back home in Needles, CA. This was perfect to learn everything I could about the industry. Jensen-Carpenter Mortuary was contracted with San Bernardino Coroners Office, which we did removals from the scene of accidents – where ever that may be. My first major call was a small plane crash in the desert. This was the beginning of relationships with Deputy Coroner, Don Johnson, police officers, fire department, nurses, doctors, clergy, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, community and families.

What do you find most challenging about this profession?

The challenge, like in most professions, is that we have to be prepared for change. Our industry has changed from Traditional Funeral Services followed with burials to Memorial Services and Celebrations of Life with cremation.

What do you find most rewarding?

The most rewarding and main reason for being in this business, is for the families we serve. If we made an impact and provided our family with the best service by going above and beyond for them, it’s rewarding and a success.

What is the best thing that has happened to you since starting as a Funeral Director?

I’ve had so many experiences being in this industry. I started off working with the Jensen family owned Funeral Home, then Hassett Family owned Funeral Home, to being a Location Manager for a corporation and now I’m back home where I belong, with the Hassett Family.

How about worst?

The worst is having to take care of my own loved ones, but the great support of my team helps me through.

Has anyone inspired you in this profession?

All those have always stood behind me throughout my career.

Is there anything you would change about the industry?

The Funeral Business changes every day, especially now with Covid19. We just need to be prepared for the changes.

What do you wish people understood more about this industry?

The importance of letting your family members know what your wishes are.

What is something surprising to learn about you?

I’m a big Elvis fan.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

Spend time with my family, listen to music and drink a beer!

If you weren’t a Funeral Director, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

Some occupation helping people.

Do you have any advice for future Funeral Directors?

You have to be passionate and take pride in what we choose to do in life. I’ve been in the Funeral Industry for 34 years and still love what I do. Caring for the families we serve, giving it our 100% and treating our families like they are our very own. It takes heart, compassion, dedication and professionalism. We have to be the best we can be for the families we serve; they deserve it.

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