Newell-Hoerling’s Mortuary in Centralia has been providing funeral services to the community for over a century. The family-owned business provides guidance to families during difficult times.
The mortuary has been in continuous operation at its present location on Pine Street since its establishment in 1907 when it was known as the Newell Undertaking Company. The business was purchased from the Hoerlings by its current owners, the Weeks family, in 2012.
Following a death, the mortuary dispatches their removal team to pick up the body. Then, an office manager and funeral director meet with the family to discuss their wishes for burial or cremation as well as memorial and cemetery arrangements.
Michelle LaPlaunt Hayes, who has been working with funeral homes for about a decade, makes arrangements for a death certificate, contacts the Social Security Administration, arranges for flowers to be delivered and helps with any of the family’s wishes.
“We’re there for the family every step of the way because it’s very emotional and you’re not thinking clearly when someone dies. It’s good to have that professional person to guide you,” Hayes said.
The mortuary staff also helps people through the grieving process and provides resources and information about how to deal with the emotional experience of losing a loved one.
“I always ask people, ‘do you have a good support system or have someone to talk to?’ If not, I tell them to call us and we will help them through this because it’s really hard on people,” Hayes said.
Rebecca Harris, a funeral director with Newell-Hoerling’s, earned her associate’s degree in funeral services and has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for about a year now.
Harris decided to get into the funeral business because she wanted to help people and because it’s not a job that many people are interested in doing.
“I thought this is a really good way to help people and make their days a little bit better during hard times,” she said.
Harris meets with families to determine the funeral arrangements and embalms and prepares the body for viewings by dressing, casketing and applying makeup to the deceased.
Harris said that one of the rewarding parts of the job is giving people the peace of mind to know that everything is being taken care of.
“Sometimes people are really emotional if the death was unexpected and it is challenging trying to hold your own composure and not cry with them,” Harris said. “I definitely lost quite a few people and friends, so I can definitely relate to how they’re feeling. Obviously, you have to keep things separate, or else you’ll fall into a space of being sad all the time, but I try to be there for them.”
Hayes and Harris agreed that working at a mortuary and being so close to death on a daily basis reminds them to make the most of life.
“It really makes you think about your own mortality and it really makes you realize that you need to love everyone every day and appreciate every day that you have,” Hayes said.
Newell-Hoerling’s Mortuary has a showroom on the upper floor of the building for casket and urn options for families to choose from. They also offer “pre-planning” services for people who would like to plan for their death and pay for all of the related costs ahead of time.
More information about Newell-Hoerling’s Mortuary, located on 205 W. Pine St. in Centralia, and its services can be found online at www.newellhoerlings.com.
Business: Newell-Hoerling’s Mortuary
Location: 205 W. Pine Street, Centralia
Owners: The Weeks family
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week