All funeral homes are not the same. Just ask Felicia Malone-Williams. Her life’s dream is to serve the dead, prepare their remains with care and respect and help families celebrate loved ones’ lives. And her dream has come true.
“It took me 23 years to get here,” says Malone of Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace, the Westminister, Colo. funeral parlor she established in 2012. “This is what I was born to do.”
She was called by God to serve, she says. “As a child I played with Barbie dolls, pretending they were in car accidents and burying them in shoe boxes in the back yard. My family’s pastor helped me understand my direction as I was growing up.”
Malone-Williams says a funeral should be the triumphant celebration of an individual’s life. “Most people see weddings that way. I see funerals that way,” she says. “The most important think for me is the deceased. They are the ones everyone should stand and applaud for.
“Whether in a tragedy or following an illness, God says you have completed your course and it’s time to come home. It’s my responsibility to celebrate this life, and bring everyone together.”
Malone-Williams says most people know little about funerals. Here are five important points she wishes more folks considered:
1. A basic life insurance policy to cover funeral expenses can save a family heartache.
Most people think nothing will happen to them, that they will live forever. They don’t plan, and then life events happen– a shooting, a car accident, a heart attack, a fatal illness. If you can go out to dinner three times a week you can certainly afford an insurance policy. Put it in the family budget, with the rent, car insurance and electricity bill.
2. Pre-planning a funeral is a wise move.
The average cost of a funeral is $8,000 to $9,000. In 30 years the estimated cost will rise to about $30,000, Malone-Williams says. Pre-planning a funeral can ease the stress and fear that often accompanies a loved one’s passing. “At a time of mourning, memories, not money, should be on a family’s mind,” says Malone Williams.
3. Funerals are more than just getting a family to the church.
Death is unexpected and can be very overwhelming to a family.
“I assess the needs of a family. We provide a comforting environment as we arrange funeral services to meet the family’s total needs, both emotionally and economically,” says Malone-Williams.
4. A funeral home is not a retail shop.
“We do not treat bereaved families as shoppers. We stop the shopping experience,” says Malone-Williams. “Here, you sit around the table as if you talk to your family. Most people have experienced funerals before, so they compare you to the last experience they had. Most people don’t know what a real funeral looks like.”
5. Not all funeral homes are alike.
“Some funeral homes seem to have forgotten that the family, not the sale, is the focal point of our business,” says Malone-Williams. But all funeral homes are not alike. There’s a big difference. Don’t have a preconceived notion that we are another funeral home. We aren’t.”
She is proud that her funeral home serves all races, nationalities and cultures. “As the first African American female mortician who holds a mortuary science degree, who is a licensed funeral director and embalmer, my focus was building a firm that embraces the diversity of the Denver metro area,” says Malone-Williams. Her family includes multicultural ethnicities, and that it’s a value that extends into her church, professional and friendships.
“Our staff very diverse and able to meet the needs of all,” says Malone-Williams. We serve everyone.”
Shannon & Malone Chapel Of Peace Funeral Home
Felicia Malone-Williams, Founder, Funeral Director, Mortician in Charge
9035 Wadsworth Pkwy Suite 2500
Westminister, Colo. 80021
Send Shannon an e-mail