Attributes of a Funeral Home’s Most Stellar Employee

May 16, 2012
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Guest article by:  Coleen Ellis

He was an amazing employee. In fact, the owner of the funeral home said that he was one of the best team members that he’d ever had. He worked tirelessly, never complaining. He always knew that families needed him and he gave everything he had to provide a bit of comfort during those families dark days at the funeral home.

So, when he died in December, the emptiness at the funeral home was almost unbearable. Word spread quickly of his death. In fact, it was the newspaper that proactively reached out to the funeral home, wanting to put not only an obituary in the paper but a story and tribute to a giving being and of a wonderful life lived. Oh, they also wanted to make sure they let the community know when the memorial service would be.

Yes, he was an amazing team member to the funeral home and an amazing servant to others.

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His name was Oliver.

He was a Portuguese Water Dog.

His journey was amazing,… even though he was only 10 years-old when he died, the number of people that Oliver touched in his tenure at Krause Funeral Home in Wisconsin was countless. People that Mark Krause didn’t know about until Oliver’s memorial service.

Oliver’s memorial service was a month after his death. The Krause Funeral Home was packed with people coming to pay tribute to the unconditional love that only a dog can give. Possibly people who Oliver had provided a sense of calm to when they were in the funeral home, possibly people who’s loved one had been on the receiving end of some Oliver love at a local hospital, or possibly a child who’d had the opportunity to practice reading to a non-judgmental ear like Oliver’s.

Yes, people for their own reasons came to honor Oliver.

But, there’s more. Interestingly enough, there was another group of people that came to the service: people who attended, bringing with them the urns of their own beloved pets. The event for Oliver was, for them, a safe and acceptable way that they, too, could have a service for their own beloved pet. They clutched their urns tightly, with such love, reverence, and emotion throughout the service. Yes, for this time together with other grieving pet parents, this was like their own personal time to honor a life they shared with their beautiful furry family member.

These stories give me more and more confirmation of what families want. They’re telling us in spades. They WANT to honor their pets in death.

Ask Mark Krause. But, first, ask him about Oliver. You’ll be glad you did.

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