Funeral Directors can be the “Local Connector”



I’ve thought about this many times over the years, but the older I get the more I believe it is true.  That is that there is probably no one in your local community that knows the community better than the local funeral director.


It hit me yesterday as I was at the local coffee shop and saw one of the local Lutheran pastors having coffee with a young lady.  I went over to say “Hello” and was introduced to the lady who happens to be a new Executive Director at one of the Bible camps in our lakes area.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

After a short discussion about how Bible camps have changed in my lifetime from being summer camps for church youth to becoming more of a community asset year around, we discussed some of the issues facing this particular camp.  It was during that discussion that the local pastor said, “Tom is kind of the connector in our community.  He knows everybodyIf you have a question on a local issue give him a call and he can probably connect you to a person that can help.


After I left I thought some on that description.  And, you know what?  I think the pastor was correct, but it wasn’t really about me. . . . it was about the connections a local funeral director that serves his community for 30 or 40 years acquires in the line of doing that duty.


I thought to myself. . . . I have handled death care services for people in our community who are in the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans. . . . I have handled services for people in the community that had no other place, and no money, to turn to when one of their loved ones died.  I’ve handled services in the Roman Catholic community, the Lutheran community, the Pentecostal community, and even the very small Jewish segment of our population.  I’ve certainly handled services in the Caucasian community, which are 98% of our services, but I’ve also handled services for those in the Black community and the Native American community.


And you know what?  In all of those situations with the different fabrics that make up our community I grew my connections.  Over the years that has proved invaluable when I visit with someone who has an idea or desire that they want to implement but don’t know where to turn.  I usually can find a connection in the community that can help them out. . . . and, many times making that connection between someone with an idea and a person I think can help has turned out to be good for our community.


As I was writing this article it reminded me of an article that was done about me by the University of Minnesota student newspaper, The Minnesota Daily.  It was an article about getting to know me after I was appointed to the school’s Board of Regents and they contacted people in my hometown and asked about me.  Here’s a excerpt from one of my friends that appeared in that article:


“Douglas Machine CFO Tom Wosepka first met Anderson when their sons played hockey together. As a new member of the Alexandria community, Wosepka said Anderson was a valuable friend to have.

“One of the things I’ve really come to appreciate about Tom is his knowledge and his care and concern for the community he lives in,” Wosepka said. “He’s one of those guys who just knows everybody.”


So, my advice to those of you who are in this profession is that you can be a person who not only helps the families that you serve, but you can be a person to make your own community a better place to live by “Growing those connections”.  Over time you can be a conduit to a better community by putting people together for good purposes.  All it takes is a little desire to care about people and care about your community.


And I don’t think that there is a better suited profession to be that “community connector” than the local funeral director.


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