As a licensed funeral director, Tim Baragar has spent the past 36 years speaking to people about the importance of pre-planning. His message is consistent and clear – sort out the details now, while you can, to make sure everything is perfect. Get this done to show your loved ones how much you care.
Tim takes these conversations seriously and over the past months, he’s been taking his own advice – on a much larger scale.
While Tim’s final details have been organized for years, he recently reached a point where he needed to start thinking about final wishes for his business – the iconic, Baragar Funeral Home.
As an owner-operator of the Funeral Home since 1996, and in the business since licensing in 1982, the community has counted on Tim being available 24/7; ready to support, console, and care. This is why next steps for the business have weighed so heavily on Tim. He wanted to start thinking about retirement but he wanted to make sure his community would continue to be supported. He wanted to make sure there would always be the highest level of caring available.
So while selling to a chain or a larger company was a consideration, Tim made the best choice he could for his community and Baragar Funeral Home has now been sold to Jeff and Crystal Neuman.
Sitting with Jeff, Crystal and Tim, upstairs in the office, overlooking the beautifully manicured grounds of Baragar Funeral Home, it feels like these three are family. Jeff has been a licensed funeral director and has worked with Tim since 1993 and when the Sears store closed last year, Crystal officially joined the team.
Jeff and Tim finish sentences for each other and they are both equally enthusiastic and complimentary of the expanded role that Crystal has taken on. She’s working on after-care with families, including providing support for grieving families as they are faced with government paperwork. She also provides gentle but solid emotional support.
“I was worried about crying,” she admits, and she tears up a bit while saying it.
Tim and Jeff let her know that’s ok. Tears are ok. Emotions are ok. Their job is to support people as they face unimaginable loss. They feel for those they support.
“People think we’re immune,” Tim says, softly. “But we’re not.”
Feeling the weight of her new role, Crystal says she’s enjoying the process of learning every part of the business and she’s already branched out into monument sales as a representative for Lons Memorial.
“It’s almost peaceful,” she says about meeting with families to discuss monuments. “Usually some time has passed and it’s nice to meet with families and to hear their memories, to check-in and to make sure they are doing ok.”
While Crystal speaks both Jeff and Tim beam.
Jeff says he’s honoured that Tim made the decision that he did. He’s also honoured that Tim is still a working part of their team. And that’s not likely to change any time soon.
“We want people to know that Tim is still here, he’s still part of this, and of course, all of the contracts and arrangements that people have made with Tim are being honoured,” Jeff says. “Every single detail matters and we will continue to custom fit every service to the budget of every family.”
In the months ahead, the team will continue to work as they always have and with Crystal’s help, they will be offering more aftercare and any other services they think could benefit the community and they all understand how in this challenging business, there is never a do-over. Every detail matters and this team has to get things right the first time.
This is part of why they are all proud of their new coach with its windows that show the casket or the urn.
“We want that final drive to be special,” Tim explains. “We will do a personal drive through Town, past a family’s residence. This final trip is deserving of the best we can give.”
And Crystal nods. She loves the new coach and the message it sends – that the person being carried within it was someone special and that they will be missed.
Crystal notes, that creating good memories at a difficult time is something they are all focused on. She says this is reflected in the different locations they offer services and they’ve all enjoyed having family pets attend services.
“There’s a difference in what we do,” Tim explains. “We’re the difference between, we had a funeral for mom and we had mom’s funeral.”
More agreement from everyone. This deeply matters to each of them.
With name changes still being worked on and construction still happening on Tim’s retirement home still in progress Jeff, Crystal and Tim thought this was a good time to start letting people know about the changes that were happening.
“We wanted to share the good news and let everyone know that they will always be looked after,” Jeff said.
“And my house is not 6,000 square feet,” Tim shouts, followed by laughter from everyone.
With semi-retirement in the future, Tim says he might think of some traveling but after so many years of being on-call 24/7, he says he’s used to being a home-body. To Jeff and Crystal, this is great news – knowing that their friend will always be close by to share their goal of offering support to this community during difficult times.