Dustin Hall has a hard time believing it’s been 10 years since he became the owner of Hall Funeral Services.
Hall purchased Boire Funeral Services from Mel and Jan Boire in 2008, and the change in name followed suit. They have since switched locations, moving from a former site on Souris Avenue North to their present home at the intersection of Fourth Street and 15th Avenue.
“None of us are quite sure where the 10 years went,” said Hall.
But Hall said their commitment has always remained meeting the needs of people in tough times.
Hall Funeral Services provides complete funeral care, with traditional funeral services, cremations and other related efforts.
The company has five full-time staff members, with three funeral directors and two administrative people. There are another eight casual people who help out with some of the behind the scenes work, and assist families during the days of funerals.
“Our main office is here in Estevan, and we also have a funeral home in Redvers, so we look after that area,” said Hall.
The business helps out 175 families per year between the two locations. About 20 per cent of families will opt not to have a funeral.
Hall gained an interest in becoming a funeral director when he was in high school. He attended a couple of family funerals in a relatively short amount of time, and he familiarized himself with the work.
He talked to Mel Boire, who was looking after Hall’s family’s needs, and expressed an interest in the profession.
Hall worked a couple of summers for Boire, and after graduating from high school, moved to Calgary and completed a business degree with the intention of coming back to Estevan and working for a funeral service.
“I did my education and became licensed in 2007,” said Hall. “Then I purchased the business in 2008.”
The Boires proved to be excellent mentors for Hall.
“He had many years of good experience, and he was always very good to families and a good person to observe in that context,” said Hall. “I learned a lot about the profession from Mel and Jan, because she was a funeral director as well.
“Once I bought the business, I made some changes to the way we do things, as I had just a new and fresh look at things, and adjusted the business practices to my liking, and it’s worked out well for me.
“And I’ve always been lucky to have great staff, with funeral directors and support staff. We’ve been very successful in providing a first-class service to families in the area.”
The company is also a sales agent for Remco Memorials, so they can also provide monument sales.
It can be a tough business to be in, since their customers are families going through tough times, but it’s also very rewarding work.
“There are times when it’s challenging, when you encounter a tragic death or the death of younger people,” said Hall. “That’s always a different dynamic. And dealing with families and their feelings, and different family dynamics that take place, and different personalities, blended families, it makes for challenges at times.
“But for the most part, people are really good and help us to help them.”
Hall said it’s important for somebody to be there to help families out while they encounter difficult times.
“People are typically very appreciative and thankful and we’re able to take some of the burden off of their shoulders with the things that we do,” said Hall. “There are a lot of things that people don’t realize that go into funeral planning, and it can be overwhelming.
“So we do hear a lot of people say that they’re surprised at how much we are able to do for them, and it definitely takes some things off their plate. They can concentrate on being with their family and remembering their loved one, and starting through that grieving process.”
Allowing Hall Funeral Services take care of the details helps a family during that tough time.
The business has changed a lot over the years. Perhaps the biggest change is an increase in the percentage of people who opt for cremation. It’s a trend that had started prior to Hall purchasing the business.
“More and more people are opting for cremation as a means of final rest,” said Hall. “Today we’re sitting at about 70 per cent of our families that are choosing cremation.”
Hall Funeral Service has ownership in the local crematorium, so they are able to provide that service in a timely manner.
“I guess the nice thing is the loved one never leaves our care, so we’re looking after the deceased from the time of death until … a final resting place,” said Hall.
Not only have the customers allowed Hall Funeral Service to enjoy the success that they have, but he is also grateful for his wife and family, as they have put up with the often irregular hours that the profession demands.