Afternoon Edition

A small town funeral director perk

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The author and my friend, Kenny, from Wilbert

I’m writing this post on Saturday morning shortly after returning from my Summer Saturday morning bike ride.  I couldn’t help but think that many independent funeral home operators live in small towns and really get to know their community. . . . I don’t think I’m much different.  Today’s column is a small-town Chamber of Commerce column.

The community I live in is Alexandria, Minnesota.  When I grew up here in the 1960’s and 1970’s it was populated with about 6000-8000 souls.  While the city limits are somewhat land-locked, we’ve grown to a county that lives and works here of about 40,000.  I like to tell people that my career was turning a small funeral business into a big funeral business. . . .the fact of the matter is, I don’t know how much I had to do with that. . . the community just grew around me. . . and I prospered!!

Here’s the Alexandria Area Chamber of Commerce website.

Here’s a short video on Alexandria from a Minneapolis television station that let’s you know why we call ourselves “The Birthplace of America”

In Alexandria we are probably most proud of our children and invest heavily in giving them great educations.  Our high school, built along the lines of the Google campus, teaches a unique format of “College and Career” readiness.  Many of the classes are college level with college credits which can give our students up to two years of college credits while attending high school, making a 4-year college degree possible by paying for only two years of college post-high school.  Here’s a short video on that program. 

The community is located in what we call Central Minnesota and is located in the area where the prairie and farm fields to the South meet the pine forests and clear water lakes to the North.  Water is everywhere around us and when I was smaller, it was very common for community members to have their home in the city and then a small summer cottage on one of the lakes within 3-5 miles of the city where they would live from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  We still have a small family cabin about five miles from our home in town that is on its third generation of summer residents.

When summer rolls around for me now, I also move from treadmill running to running outside on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays being bike ride days.  Today on my bike ride I had to stop three times to visit with folks and it just got me to thinking how intertwined in the community one becomes as a funeral director.  One of those I stopped to visit with today was one of our Wilbert Vault personnel whom I caught setting up a vault for a funeral while riding through the cemetery.

I consider myself very fortunate because I was able to live and work in the city I grew up in and make all kinds of friends.  And, after thinking about it. . . . having to stop three times on a 6-mile bike ride was not a hindrance. . . . it was a privilege.

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