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Preserving legacy, elevating care: The uniting of two well-known B.C. funeral homes signals a shift in the industry

Changing industry that has seen large corporate takeovers now has a family-owned, B.C.-based option
From L-R: Steve Hosking, Ryan Crean and Rob McCormick, Partners, Kearney Funeral Services & Burquitlam Funeral Home. Photo via Kevin Jacob Photography

There’s a lot to be said for preserving small, family-owned businesses that have built their long-term success on prioritizing care and compassion for their customers.

Kearney Funeral Services, a trusted name in the industry since 1908, when Thomas James Kearney became the sole operator, is living that philosophy after the recent merger with Burquitlam Funeral Home. Burquitlam Funeral Home is a well-known and respected community-based business that has served clients well for the past 65 years. 

“We looked at what is going on with funeral homes all over North America,” says Ryan Crean, CEO of Kearney Funeral Services. “A lot of large conglomerates are coming in and buying the smaller, family-owned businesses that have had a hard time competing.”

What that often means is not only a loss of competition in the industry, and a steady increase in prices, but the feeling there has been a loss of locally based, personal care. 

“In making our decision for the merger, we not only looked at the synergies between the two operations, but also our values as who we are and what we stand for,” Crean says. “And we found a lot of compatibility, amongst the partners and the people working there.”

What was also evident from the opportunity to bring the two long-standing businesses together and unite was the chance to declare strong representation for an independent, family-owned funeral service operator based in B.C.

“One of the things we wanted to state with the merger was we are a preferable alternative for families looking for that caring touch from people right in their community,” Crean says.

What that helps retain is a commitment to a high level of personal service for customers at their most critical time of need.

Kearney Funeral Services, a trusted name in the industry since 1908, continues its legacy post-merger with Burquitlam Funeral Home. Photo via Kearney Funeral Services

​“While that important connection can often depend on the involvement of the funeral director and their staff, for me, there can be a huge difference between a large, corporate-run funeral home and an independent one,” Crean says.

“When you have core values that puts the client first, they permeate throughout the entire organization,” Crean adds. “And we recognized there were a great many that were shared between the two operations. That’s when we realized it was beneficial to bring the two respected funeral homes together.”

Playing a prominent role in the communities they serve was one common endeavour between the two businesses.

“We both value maintaining strong connections to ensure the families we serve feel supported and valued,” Crean says.​

Established in 1964, Burquitlam Funeral Home remains family owned and operated. Photo via Burquitlam Funeral Home

​Under the merger, Burquitlam Funeral Home will become a Kearney location, joining the four others already serving the Greater Vancouver region.

“While it has joined our group, it’s important to maintain the identity of Burquitlam because it has been serving the community for such a long time,” Crean says. “But at the same time, the Kearney name brings with it many great strengths in terms of connections within the communities it serves.

“We will leverage the strengths of both companies to ensure we create a high level of service and care for the people who come to us.

“And rest assured, our dedication to excellence and the heartfelt care that you have come to expect from both companies will remain unchanged.”