Back to Blog

Resident enjoyed rewarding career in the funeral home business

Resident enjoyed rewarding career in the funeral home business

Although she started out simply answering the door, resident Mary Vial worked her way up the ladder and was eventually a funeral home director at a time when it was a male-dominated profession.

“I started in 1958. I married into a family that owned a funeral home. I was married to the mortician. Eventually, the family opted to sell the home, so I became the manager of it until I got my four children raised. After my children had all graduated from school, I went to Great Falls, Montana (a bigger town) and got a job at the funeral home there to have a change of scenery. It was a wonderful funeral home, and I ended up being the manager of it after about five years,” said Mary.

Being a female in the business didn’t hold her back.

“I had one lady that wanted my boss to wait on her after the death of her husband. I said to her, ‘Why don’t you and I go ahead and try and if you’re not pleased, I’ll get Vern (my husband) for you.’ That was ok, and we ended up being real good friends. And the next time she had a death in the family she called me,” said Mary.

While death was never something to joke about, Mary did find ways to bring a little comic relief to her job.

“I would have a joke with a family if they didn’t have an organist or access to one. I played the organ, so I’d tell them, ‘We have an organist available, she’s not very good but the price is right,’” said Mary.

She retired in 1988 after 30 years in the business.

“It was a privilege to help people at one of the most difficult times of life. It made me feel whole. I was honored to be a part of that. And if, in fact, I even helped one person it was worth all my effort,” said Mary.


PHOTO: “I had one lady that wanted my boss to wait on her after the death of her husband. I said to her, ‘Why don’t you and I go ahead and try and if you’re not pleased, I’ll get Vern (my husband) for you.’ That was ok, and we ended up being real good friends. And the next time she had a death in the family she called me,” said Mary.

Back to Blog