At the young age of 16, Kellee Hall lost her sister, who was only 14 years old. While it was hard for the whole family to process the loss of such a young innocent soul, it was especially hard for Kellee. She wanted to know what was going to happen to her sister – She wanted to know what the funeral home was doing with her sister.
That single event changed the course of her life, for in that moment, she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. “I do not consider myself a funeral director by trade – it is my life – it is my calling!”
After graduating high school Kellee went to mortuary school where she began her career at O.H. Pye III Funeral Home & Chapel in Detroit, Michigan. Eighteen years later, Kellee has risen to the role of General Manager and her commitment to serve has never waivered, neither has her energy, passion, and enthusiasm. This is a perfect reflection of the way she lives her life – it’s contagious and it shows in the culture and climate at O.H. Pye III. Simply said, they serve!
Insights from Kellee
1. What do you enjoy most about working at your funeral home and in the funeral profession?
As a General Manager and Funeral Director, I wear many hats, but the one job that is most important to me is meeting with families.
Every situation is different, every family has its dynamics. To me, it’s most important to help them navigate through the unknown and give them reasonable expectations of how to cope with one of the hardest experiences they will ever face.
2. Service is often highlighted as the key differentiator when comparing funeral homes; what do you do differently to stand out among other directors/owners and homes?
Service is everything! – Service – Service – Service!
We don’t sell a product, we sell a service, I would like to consider our home as the standard bearers.
We represent the family. We serve the family. We too, have sat on the other side of the table, and to-that-end, we service a family just as they were ours.
3. How has the profession changed since you started?
The primary change I would say has changed the most, has been the rapid increase in cremation services.
Another big change is what a ‘Celebration of Life’ looks like today. It’s no longer a ‘standardized’ service – it has become a personalized service.
Today, it’s passion based – Art lovers celebrate with paintings, sculptures, music, and images that portray a life well lived. Motorcycle enthusiasts include their love and passion for adventure into their celebration, and so it goes, everyone has a story to tell, and their friends and community now have a way of doing so.
4. Burnout is a real issue in the funeral profession. What do you do outside of the funeral home to relax?
I like to stay very active – year-round!
Healthy eating, strength training, exercising, and outdoor activities are just some of the things that help me relax.
From Spring through Fall you will find me on my motorcycle feeling the wind in my hair – yes,I’m is a serious motorcycle enthusiast – but what keeps me most grounded is my faith.
“My faith is the solid rock that grounds me. It’s more than ‘spiritual’, it keeps me grounded physically, mentally and emotionally.”
5. How do you see technology changing the profession in the future?
I don’t see it changing the profession as much as adding to it.
“i.e. Everydays – Everdays is a natural extension of our services. While it is a mobile technology platform, it is adding to the funeral profession, and thus improving it, rather than changing it. It has enhanced our profession.”
O.H. Pye III and Everdays
1. What made you choose Everdays for your client families?
At O.H. Pye III, we saw Everdays as a great vehicle for our families. It moves much faster than any form of notification, yet it maintains the integrity and standards that we uphold, too. No one likes finding out after the funeral that a loved one was lost – nor should they find out through a feed on social media.
We also love it because it’s real-time – it’s immediate and it’s effective.
2. You have a lot to do each day, what has helped you successfully incorporate Everdays into your process?
That’s very simple – It mirrors our values.
Everybody wants change, but doesn’t want to change – but as I said – Everdays is a mirror of our values, it’s what we are all about at Pye. We see the families getting the benefit from the service when we see them pulling their community together.
Deathcare professionals spend lots of their time caring for the needs of grieving families in the immediate aftermath of the loss of a loved one. Read more on helpful ways to cope with compassion fatigue and focus on your wellbeing as you support others.