Mike Stratton | Versailles, IN

“I’ve been in the funeral business for 39 years. I graduated from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis in 1979. I immediately came home here to Versailles after I graduated and I’ve been here since. I was working at Bovard’s Funeral Home for 22 years before we started this facility in September 2002.

I actually wanted to be a school teacher. That was the only thing I wanted to do. For whatever reason, the Lord led me to a different direction. I was always fascinated with this line of work. I had an uncle who was in this funeral home business in town many years ago and I was used to being around it. I guess it piqued my curiosity, if nothing else, but it’s like a ministry to me as we deal with a lot of people, and I like that. There’s the embalming part of it which deals with the person that passed away but more importantly, I am dealing with families that need some guidance. The whole facet of it is a combination of art and science.

It piqued my interest when I was in high school. I got to see some embalming taken place and that part never bothered me, though I know some people may see it as gory. I don’t say this braggingly, it just never did - it wasn’t something that made me run out of the room screaming. So I thought if I could get past that part, the rest of it is gonna be easy. And it was. It was something I felt the Lord laid in me to do. As I said, it is a form of ministry and I’m trying to help people. 

The hardest part though was coming back home because I had to bury my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends but on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be some place where I didn’t know anybody. It was good to be home where I could help people whom I knew. That was important to me because I know them, probably knew their grandparents and great grandparents. Now I am getting into funerals of the third or fourth generation of families since I started. So it’s a tradition and I like that.

I’m emotionally attached to these people too because I’ve known them for so long and therefore I could feel a little of the pain these people are going through in that loss because I’ve known that individual too. When I understand their pain, I appreciate their pain and it helps me help them better.”

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