Funeral Home to open in Hughesville
TIVOLI – Julie Brooks of Brooks Funeral Home was the speaker during the May 15 gathering of Christian Women who met at Tivoli United Methodist Church. Her informative program included tips for end of life preparation, personal observations and a business expansion announcement.
Brooks Funeral Home began serving the public in Turbotville with the speaker’s late father William “Bill” Brooks. “I grew up in the business and when attending mortuary school, met my husband Steven Tetreault. Our family has a long history with Hughesville for when the late Gordon McCarty became ill, on occasion my father went to help him at his funeral home. I served my internship there and for ten years my husband worked with McCarty’s successor, the late Richard Thomas,” Brooks said.
The speaker also said she and her family resided in Hughesville where in 2006 son Sean Tetreault graduated from high school. He is currently a football coach at Muncy High School. Sean has joined the family business, the third generation to do so. He will oversee the newly established funeral home to be completed in late summer along Route 220 at the Monument Works in Hughesville. Changes are ongoing in the building’s interior in preparation of hosting services. This is the third site which includes Turbotville and Watsontown.
Delving into the business of funerals, Brooks shared that “Each director must be certified and adhere to laws set by the state, township and cemetery requirements. We are inspected every two years and attend workshops to keep up with the latest rules and practices.”
From her experience, Brooks said her work with clients is often left to the living. “This short block of time for preparation occurs as the family is grieving as well as the community at large. Services run more smoothly if advance preparations are made. We know this is going to affect us. Sometimes we prepare for things that and rescheduled or cancelled. but for death, it’s not if, but when,” Brooks said.
Tips for preplanning and/or pre-paying were noted. One may visit local funeral homes and receive printed information such as those offered at the program. Titles included “Putting My House in Order, Life beyond Loss, Medicaid and Funeral Planning, and Planning Ahead for Cremation.”
In addition to funeral homes, pre-paying may be sought through a bank or insurance agency. They offer irrevocable trusts which can be tax free, earn interest and used only as funeral and burial expenses.
The speaker indicated that “Fifty percent of individuals opt for cremation which is a service we offer. This may due to cost savings, lack of family unity or family residing outside the area.” Brooks observed that, “Over the years I’ve noticed cemeteries are visited less and society in general has slipped away from faith as well as shunning rituals.”
As for the decision for cremation, it does not limit funeral service options. A ‘Celebration of Life’ can be held with cremated remains present or prior to cremation taking place. “Possibilities are endless and are individualized to each family’s preference,” Brooks said. Some decisions to make are where to hold services, will there be visitation, will special music be included and who should participate?
A time of levity occurred when one of the group shared the story of a favored companion, a dog, which had been cremated prior to his master’s passing. The dog’s ashes were stored in a box until time to be put inside the owner’s casket. Somehow the inclusion was forgotten and later upon finding the box, went to the plot, opened the container and tossed the ashes only to have them blow back on their faces and clothing. The moral of the story was to be aware of wind directions.
Brooks noted constraints on where ashes may be dispersed. “As ashes are sterile, there is no chance for contamination. Spreading can be done in oceans or on rivers, but use common sense and stay away from drinking water supplies. Additional alternatives have been on farmlands and hunting grounds. Permission must be sought from owners of privately owned sites,” the speaker said.
As is done by most funeral establishments, Brooks offers a free website for posting obituaries which you may view at www.wfbrooksfuneralhome.com.