Pam Smith began her career in the funeral home business 17 years ago. “I started at another local funeral home here in Russellville, in the office area helping customers with payments and helping the funeral directors with their paperwork,” Pam said. Later she recognized that assisting people through trying times was her true calling. “It soon became apparent to me that I had a passion for helping families,” Pam said. “It’s very rewarding when you are helping families during their greatest time of need.”
When the funeral home she worked for was closing, she decided it was time to open her own business. “I decided to get my funeral directors license, which I did,” Pam said. “I was tutored by one of the best guys in the industry. He had been a funeral director and embalmer for most of his life and I was very fortunate to learn from someone who had so much knowledge and experience.”
Those 17 years of experience along with expert training led to Pam opening Russellville Family Funeral in April of 2016. “I did a lot of praying and it’s not been all roses by any means,” Pam said. “It’s pretty tough to get a business up and going, but I feel like we are going in the right direction. I was very blessed to be able to pursue my passion. This is truly a passion.”
Russellville Family Funeral is a full-service funeral home offering traditional services such as embalming, cremation and memorial monuments. “We offer the entire package,” Pam said.
For Pam, listening to the needs and wants of the families is the most important thing to providing quality service. “I don’t want families to come in and think, ‘oh, I’m going to have to choose between this or this,’” Pam said. “I listen to what they want and then I try to accommodate their needs. I can see where funeral services in the future are changing to celebrating the life of their loved one. I have some ideas that I am hoping to implement very soon in the funeral home. I feel like the families and the generations that we are dealing with now want options.”
Keeping the cost affordable for families is top priority for Russellville Family Funeral. “Families need an option where they don’t feel so burdened with the funeral expense,” Pam said. “I don’t want families to leave my funeral home saying they can’t believe they spent that much money. That’s one of the first things I ask them when they come in to talk to me, what they have in mind, and where they are comfortable in their budget and then let’s go in that direction. I want to offer a professional service for an affordable price.”
Planning a funeral after the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Pam added that making a prearrangement is one way of making it easier for family members. “I cannot stress enough how important prearranging is,” Pam said. “This is such a service that you are doing for your family. You are relieving them from that burden. They don’t have to make choices, they don’t have to answer a lot of questions, it is all taken care of for them. It’s one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family.
Pam understands that funerals can be hard for some to think about. “People don’t like to discuss funerals and final arrangements, who does?” Pam said. “It’s not like you wake up one Saturday morning and say, ‘oh let’s go down to the funeral home and buy funeral arrangements.’ But this is something we all are going to face at some point in our lives, and it’s just better to be prepared and alleviate that burden from your family.”
Prearrangement is also a way to save money on costly funeral expenses. “When you’re not stressed and in that state of mind you can make better choices,” Pam said. “You can make better choices financially, and you can lock in on today’s funeral price as well. Typically, funeral prices go up slightly every year in some avenue so by prearranging you don’t have to worry about those prices ever going up. But overall, I try to keep my prices lower than my competitors so families feel like they are getting a better value for a good service.” Russellville Family Funeral also provides several payment options with no interest and no fees.
Pam said following her passion by helping families through difficult times is very rewarding. “We’re just going to keep doing what we are doing and see if the River Valley will give us a chance to let us help them,” Pam said.