Elgin no longer has three funeral homes. Jones Family Funeral Home and Elgin Providence Funeral Home have joined.
The result will be Elgin Providence/Jones Family Funeral Home, which will operate out of the Providence facility at 604 U.S. 95, just south of the SPJST Hall in Elgin. The Jones Family Funeral Home facility at 209 Ave. C will close and the building will be put up for sale.
The current staff at Providence will remain, and will be joined by part-time staff from Jones Family Funeral Home. Pre-arranged funeral services made with Jones Family Funeral Home will still be honored as written.
“We have partnered up with Providence,” said Jones Family Funeral Home owner Brad Jones. “We didn't sell out and they didn't buy us out.”
Brad and his wife Christine Jones will be co-owners of the funeral home. Staff will be on hand at the old location for several months to ease the transition.
"I thought it would be a good idea because Brad has such an outstanding presence in this community," said Providence General Manager Mel Wideman. "That's what we try to base our funeral homes on – being more family-oriented and involved in the community. It didn't hurt us that Brad just got voted the Best Funeral Home [in the Courier Best of the Best contest]," he said. "The best just got better! Brad set the foundation. We're going to take his experience and put it in place over here. I think it will work great for everybody."
Despite being competitors in the Elgin market, Brad and Mel have been friends for years – they both went to mortuary school together. They have been discussing the idea of joining their operations since May 2010.
Providence Funeral Home opened in Elgin on Jan. 13, 2010. There are three Providence funeral homes, in Elgin, Taylor and Bastrop. All are operated independently.
Brad has been operating Jones Family Funeral Home since 2002, when he purchased the facility from Newby Funeral Home. Wideman will retain the general manager position at all three Providence locations, while backing up Brad at the Elgin location.
"Our idea when we purchased the funeral home in 2002 was to eventually expand and get bigger," said Brad. "Space has been limited in our facility and the number of families and the need for parking is growing. We kind of out grew ourselves."
He noted that Jones Family Funeral Home held 10 funerals in 2002 and had 100 calls in 2010. "We can't hold that," he said. "After knowing Mel as many years as I've known him. It's a no brainer. The best of both worlds."
Brad, now 38, has been in the funeral business since age 16 ― but his interest in the business goes back even further. When he was in fifth grade, a funeral home director visited his elementary school. "I was so intrigued by what he had to say that I decided in the fifth grade that I was going to grow up to become a funeral home director."
Brad said he will be doing the same job as before — serving families. “With Mel as general manager it will mean a lot less stress. I'll have more time to be able to attend the kids' sporting events and spend more time with my mom in Waco, who has cancer. I'll also be able to be involved in more community activities.”
Brad said prices will be comparable to those at his previous location. “We're going to serve the families just as we did at our other location. Now we'll be able to accommodate them in a nicer facility. Pricewise, we will be just as comparable as we were in our small business location.”
Christine said, “One thing we wanted to make sure of is that we can still serve people without the funeral costs being a burden on them.”