CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — COVID-19 has changed the way many industries operate, and the funerary business is no exception. Amid a global pandemic, Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah is helping bring families together to safely celebrate the lives of loved ones.
Owners and funeral directors Russ Atkin and Larry Hansen have drawn upon more than 50 years of combined experience in the funeral industry to answer the challenges 2020 has thrown their way.
With friends and relatives unable to travel and families taking precautions, the demand for virtual services has increased exponentially. As an example, Atkin said Serenity Funeral Home recently organized a service for a local man who spent many years working in China. His memorial, held in Southern Utah, was livestreamed via Zoom, so his friends and coworkers on the other side of the globe could participate.
Smaller graveside services as opposed to traditional church gatherings are also gaining popularity, Atkin said. Serenity Funeral Home performs burials throughout the state and surrounding areas. Within the past month, they have facilitated graveside services in Southern California, Idaho and on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
“We’re constantly on the road,” he said.
But these changes in funeral preferences are not exclusively a result of the pandemic. Instead, Atkin said, they speak to a shifting social landscape of relatives living farther apart while staying connected with technology.
Along these lines, more people are now opting for cremation. Many Southern Utah residents aren’t native to the area and have family living elsewhere and would prefer to have their ashes transported rather than being buried in St. George.
While customers often choose cremation because it’s less expensive than a casket burial, Atkin said cremation also provides families the advantage of not having to organize a memorial service within a few days, particularly when a death was unexpected.
Serenity Funeral Home expanded to provide cremation services in May 2010 with the opening of the Cremation Center of Southern Utah. It adjoins the funeral home and is the only facility in St. George specifically designed for those choosing cremation, Atkin said.
To schedule a tour and learn more about cremation from a funeral service professional, call 435-986-9100.
Serenity Funeral Home also offers online grief and healing resources, as well as a daily email affirmation program: 365 Days of Grief Support. These emails provide encouragement, reassurance and insight into the healing process.
Whether choosing a traditional funeral, a graveside service or cremation, Hansen encourages people to plan ahead. With preplanning services from Serenity Funeral Home, customers can specify exactly what they want for their memorial, he said. Preplanning will save loved ones not only the stress of trying to organize a funeral while grieving as well as potentially thousands of dollars in inflation years down the road.
Hansen said preplanning services are transferable to any funeral home in the country.
“If somebody moves out of state, their policy moves with them,” he said.
Hansen said in his previous experience working with other funeral homes, he observed costs steadily rising until some families could no longer afford the services their loved ones desired and deserved. At Serenity Funeral Home, they focus on keeping overhead low and passing those savings along to customers.
“That’s our biggest difference and selling point. We’re almost half of what the traditional funeral homes are cost-wise, and we provide the exact same quality of service,” he said. “We just don’t have the big building.”
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah | Address: 1316 S. 400 East, Suite A-3, St. George | Telephone: 435-986-2085 | Website.
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