For fourth generation funeral director Alan Parsons, a successful funeral is one where he is not noticed at all.
"On the day of the funeral, funeral directors should not be seen," he said.
That doesn't mean the director shouldn't be present. A lifetime of experience has confirmed to Mr Parsons that each detail has to be double and triple checked, down to the day of the ceremony.
"You want to provide an environment where the family of the deceased person is able to just concentrate on what's important at that point in time," he said.
So it is somewhat of an unusual position for Mr Parsons and the business he runs, H. Parsons to be talking about themselves, but this year is a bit different. The company is celebrating 130 years in business as a family owned-Illawarra based operation and has announced the purchase of Shoalhaven funeral services provider Wray Owen Funerals, to be finalised on Wednesday, September 20.
The Nowra funeral home has been operating since 1954 and Mr Parsons said the two neighbouring organisations shared a similar set of values.
"With a funeral, you only have one opportunity to provide that service to a family, and of course, your reputation is reliant on being a high quality service to the community."
In addition to the expansion, H Parsons has purchased a non-operating function centre in Wandandian, to bring immersive services to the Bay and Basin area.
"The whole idea is immersing yourself in familiar surroundings, forest scene or beach scenes, and creating an environment where everyone attending the funeral feels in a familiar, comfortable surroundings," Mr Parsons said.
The immersive experience is one of the ways that H. Parsons is leveraging technology, as families look for new ways to remember the life of a loved one.
"People are changing, people have different requirements for different types of funerals," he said.
Whether that is relatives dialling in remotely, or alternative locations, Mr Parsons said that one thing which remained was the connection with the family. Being the fourth generation of the Parsons family to run the business and with his son Anthony involved in the business, what may seem like a sombre role was in fact a rewarding vocation.
"When you're arranging a funeral, you have discussions with family and they accept you and appreciate what you're doing," he said.
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