For years, Sooke residents had to go out of town to make funeral arrangement. Not anymore.
Care Funeral Services is the first caretaking business ever to open its doors in Sooke, serving as a satellite office to the Colwood facility.
Behind the enterprise is funeral director Telford Nault, a 58-year veteran of the funeral business who’s owned and operated funeral homes all over the Island.
“Life being what it is, I’ve never had a bad day in the funeral business,” he said.
“What other job can you have where you are invited to sit down with strangers who are going through the worst time in their life and being able to do something for them, and not to them.”
In a morbid twist of irony, Nault’s involvement and dedication to funeral services started at the age of 15, when both his parents died within a year of each other.
Stuck with the funeral bill, his only option was to pay it off – and he did – by joining as an apprentice at a funeral home in Courtenay.
Since then, Nault always worked within independent funeral homes instead of corporate ones, believing that even though it’s still a business, it’s not about the money, but about the service.
“The reason why I’ve been an independent all my life, and the most important thing is that when a family comes in, it’s all about the family, not about the funeral home,” he said, adding Care also provides seminars and information sessions for those either arranging a funeral or preparing for one.
Not that funerals and death are a dinner-table subject for many.
“Up until the end of 1960s nobody wanted to talk about funerals. Many cultures don’t want to talk about it even today,” Nault said.
“There are still a lot of people who won’t take out life insurance, who won’t prearrange a funeral or even make a will.”
The funeral business has certainly changed though. Nault pointed out that today, much of Care’s services are 95 per cent cremations and five per cent burials, where more than 40 years ago, it was the other way around.
Nault said the current office is just a test to see how things will go in the next little while. If it gets more popular, they may consider a full-sized facility in Sooke.
It’s also a sign the town is growing and extending its services to the local community, added Mayor Maja Tait.
“We now have businesses that provide service to the full circle of life,” she said.