Funeral Director: 'Sometimes You Have to Give Back'

October 4, 2011
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Rushville funeral director James Todd has been in the burial business 26 years, backed by a 90-year family history in mortuary services.

The funerals he’ll oversee this week are a first for the Rush County business.

Todd Funeral Centre and Crematory is caring for the two Laurel families who lost a total of five family members in a single violent episode last weekend.

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Joshua Napier, 26, of Laurel was the only member of his immediate family not at the mobile home on Stipps Hill Road on Sept. 25 when his mother, father, sister, brother and a neighbor were shot to death. Josh has made all the funeral arrangements for his family, Todd said.

“When they reach out to you, you have to reach back and offer help,” Todd said. “They don’t have any resources. They needed someone to put something together for them. I’ve been in this business a long time and sometimes you have to give back. It’s been tough for the son that survives.”

The funeral for Henry Smith, 43, of Laurel will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the church he attended, the Buena Vista Southern Missionary Baptist Church at 25200 Chapel Road, Laurel. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral.

The funeral for Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife, Angela Napier, 47, their daughter, Melissa Napier, 23, and son, Jacob Napier, 18, will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Calvary Baptist Church at 309 W. 24th St., Connersville. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral.

All four Napiers died of gunshots to the head. Smith died from a gunshot to the chest.

The Rushville funeral home is getting some help in serving the grieving families. Many churches offered their sanctuaries for the funerals, Todd said.

“Calvary Baptist is a large church in Connersville. It offered us the facility and it’s conducive to having hundreds of people there, which I expect we’ll have,” Todd said.

Having four caskets at one funeral presented another challenge. The Todd Funeral Centre has a nice hearse, but it has only one, Todd said. Funeral homes often rent hearses from other homes when more than one is needed, but because of finances that wasn’t an option this time, he said.

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