You either love my articles or you love to hate them. “Ask the funeral director”, as published every Saturday in the obituary section of the Winnipeg Free Press, is about educating you, the public, about funeral services in general. The purpose is not to put down or slander other funeral providers, mention names, nor provide exact addresses, cities or municipalities. We simply answer questions in a dignified and honest manner to the best of our ability in accordance with the various acts regulating funeral directors, and cemeteries.
Recently in an article, I wrote about a family that was informed, in order to bury their loved one at a particular cemetery, they must use the funeral home situated on that cemetery’s property. If they did not use this funeral home, they would not be permitted to proceed with the burial of their loved one. This is misleading information. The fact is, you are permitted to use the full range services of Voyage Funeral Home, or any other funeral provider, to conduct a burial at any cemetery of your choice.
Following the publication of this article, I received a certified letter from a law firm representing a funeral home stating: “we are not sure if your questioner was referring to our clients facility or not, by including Main St. in the post, you are implying to the general public that it is or may be our client facility. As you can appreciate, that is defamatory and damaging to our client’s reputation. We would ask you to refrain from including such suggestive material in the future.” Personally, I am surprised that a large funeral home along with a well-respected law firm would stoop to such low levels to try and intimidate the smaller family run business. This is a perfect example of the David and Goliath story. This is clearly a bullying tactic to prevent you, the public, from knowing the truth. I will not be intimidated, threatened or bullied. I will, however, continue to provide accurate and truthful information to educate and inform the public.
In Winnipeg, there is a large corporate presence amongst the funeral service providers. These giant funeral providers try to buy out the small mom and pop family businesses in the city to take control of the market, which in turn will cost you the consumer more money. To illustrate this point, simple cremation at Voyage Funeral Home is $1600.00, others are charging as much as $5500.00.
Years ago, I became a funeral director /embalmer, to serve my community in the most honest and dignified way possible. I strive to treat each and every family with the utmost respect, dignity, empathy and compassion. I believe that each person that lived a life on earth deserves a dignified farewell. I strongly believe it is wrong and unfair to take advantage of a grieving family during their most vulnerable time, period! I believe when dealing with the loss of a loved one, your family should never have to deal with a salesperson. For the most part, sales people are not sensitive to your needs and will try to manipulate and upsell in order to collect high commissions. Unlike the typical salespersons, funeral directors are trained professionals, who take post grad courses yearly to stay current and educated with the ever-changing funeral services and cemetery industry. At Voyage Funeral Home, you will always deal with a licensed professional, who will guide you in your darkest hour. We believe in doing things precisely. We do not sub-contract out our services, such as cremation or embalming. We have invested in our community and in our business. Most recently, we have built a state of the art cremation facility. We are continuously updating our facilities to meet the needs of the families that we serve.
We have also received a large number of inquiries about the status of pre-planned services from families that have dealt with a Transcona funeral home that was recently closed. It is sad and upsetting that many families have lost thousands of dollars that they will never recover. Since the closure of that funeral home, we have served many of their clients whose monies have been secure, by transferring their pre-arrangements and policies to Voyage Funeral Home. We have also accommodated and supported families to the best of our abilities, who have been less fortunate in this situation and their funds are missing.
UPDATE: The said building and property have recently been sold to another funeral home provider. It is important to note; they DO NOT own your pre-arrangements or policies. You have the legal right to cash out your policies or transfer your monies to Voyage, as others have done, or funeral home of your choice. This is not limited to the funeral home in Transcona. You can legally transfer your pre-planned funeral arrangements from any funeral home across the city, which in turn could save your family hundreds or thousands of dollars. Voyage operates a very cost-effective business. We operate facilities that reflect our communities, therefore, allowing us to be highly competitive with our pricing. Our vision incorporates tradition, compassion, cultural sensitivity and cost options to meet the needs of every family. We truly do believe in treating your loved one as we would our own.
As a funeral director, I cannot take death away nor can I take away the pain. I do however have empathy and will do my utmost best to carry your family through the most difficult experiences caused by death. I promise to be honest, loving, caring, understanding and most of all have the greatest compassion, respect and dignity for your family, regardless of your situation.