This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of the The Independent® magazine.

OGR is pleased to introduce OGR member and young professional Laura Godwin, CFSP of Pollock-Randall Funeral Home in Port Huron, MI. Laura is licensed funeral director/embalmer in Michigan. We recently sat down with her to find out more about what motivates her and what trends she’s seeing in funeral service.

3 Generations of Funeral Directors

Getting Started in Funeral Service
“As a 3rd generation (both my maternal grandparents are licensed and both my parents are licensed), I have worked around the funeral home since I was very young, first greeting at visitations and then later helping in the office. However, when I went away to college, I did not anticipate coming back to the family business. After receiving my degree in Exercise & Health Science, I decided to take a year to obtain my funeral service license before continuing on to a different professional school. After the first day of mortuary school, however, I realized that this field was what I was called to do, as it combined my love of science, business, the arts, and psychology–all while allowing me to really feel like I was helping people.

The Reward
“I love the lasting relationship that is formed so quickly between the funeral director and families. I see it when families we have served in the past come in and feel so connected to us even though we may not have seen them “since mom died”, yet they feel like they are family. I love to be able to create funeral and memorial services that are unique and meet the needs of the family.”

The OGR Benefit
“In this ever-changing funeral market, I appreciate having an organization staying on top of trends and important funeral service news and relaying that information to us. The relationships and idea sharing that take place at events such as the young professional study group that I attended in New York last year and Michigan this year are also SO important.”

Funeral Service Trends
“Unfortunately over the past year or so in our community we have seen an increasing amount of “no services” because “that’s what dad wanted”. As a grief counselor/funeral director, this is really a tough thing for me to sit with a family and hear when I can tell from their actions/voices/questions that they are truly not okay with this choice. I am grateful that I get the opportunity to educate at this point and often they realize they can craft a beautiful tribute while still honoring “dad’s wishes”. But sometimes, there is nothing we can do to change their minds, and we simply have to do the best we can to support their choices and provide follow-up. These are the difficult ones for me. I see the impact it has on the grief journey later in my counseling role.”

These are the difficult ones for me. I see the impact it has on the grief journey later in my counseling role.

~Laura Godwin on families who choose to have no service at all.

Down Time
“Most important to me is my family and I love spending time with them. My 5 and 2 year old boys keep me very busy and I enjoy watching the activities that they’re involved in. Personally, I like to be active and spend time outdoors, especially running, playing tennis, and participating in winter activities (skiing, snowshoeing, etc). My husband is an avid hunter, so after we got married I began to do that with him also.

Inspiration
“My inspiration comes from my family. My parents inspire me because they’re both dedicated funeral directors and very much involved in our community where they have earned the respect of many. My husband is a police officer and is incredible at doing his difficult job but also staying connected to the kids and me. My boys make me want to be the best I can every day.”

Did you know?
“What you might not know is I have shot a bear with a bow; gone dog-sledding in the boundary waters of Minnesota; was the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi; enjoy competing in sprint triathlons, and I am a 100-ton Master’s licensed boat captain.

My Mantra
To whom much is given, much is expected. I am grateful for the many ways that I have been blessed in my life, and I believe it is my duty to give back as much as I can in various ways. To me, that means giving my best to my family and my client families at work, helping everyone that I can, and giving time and money back to my community and worthwhile causes.”

” I am grateful for the many ways that I have been blessed in my life, and I believe it is my duty to give back as much as I can.”

Laura Godwin

by Scott McClure
OGR Communications & Marketing Director
smcclure@ogr.org