David Lapier, co-owner of Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Homes, is seen in his office at the Williamsburg location. Thompson Goddard Photo

CHESTERVILLE – David Lapier, co-owner with Daniel McLaughlin of Marsden Mclaughlin Funeral Homes, sees his work as helping clients through one of the most difficult times of their lives – the passing of a loved one. Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Homes have locations in Chesterville, Williamsburg, Iroquois, and Cardinal.

Lapier, a life-long resident of South Dundas, explained after taking a University of Ottawa course on the psychology of grief, he felt called to become a funeral director. He explained after completing the pre-requisite 40 hour internship with Danny McLaughlin, owner of the Marsden-McLaughlin Funeral Homes in Iroquois and Cardinal, he enrolled in the Funeral Director course at Humber College in 1991. Lapier joined Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Homes after graduating and getting his licence in 1993, working and living at the newly built Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg.

He described the work of a funeral director as a 24 hour/day, 7 days/week and 52 weeks/per year occupation, noting this is especially true in rural areas where you are on call all the time. Lapier mentioned one of the roles of a funeral director is to act as a mediator when discussing arrangements with family members and described being empathetic and understanding; helpful to clients navigating through the experience is important in his line of work, noting he finds it rewarding to assist people during a difficult time.

Lapier mentioned how each service or celebration of life is unique to the wishes of the family and can contain elements such as a slideshow, short talks from family, friends or neighbours and be either formal or informal in nature. There are a lot of things to consider when planning the service. Lapier noted that many people pre-plan their arrangements. Pre-arranging not only gives an individual the piece of mind of knowing what ceremonies will take place at the time of their death, but it also relieves a great deal of stress on the family members who would otherwise be responsible for making funeral arrangements for their deceased loved one. There is no cost associated with pre-planning unless a person decides to pre-pay for their arrangements as well.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything for you” is a motto of Lapier, who mentioned that in addition to the many facets of planning a funeral or a celebration of life, there are many organizations which have to be contacted after a death has occurred. Lapier has created a checklist of items to be completed and organizations to contact, which he explained is constantly updated and modified as needed. He has developed presentations which can provide community groups on aspects of funeral arrangements, commenting this allows people to ask questions and find answers in a setting that is comfortable and not stressful.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the holding of a funeral or celebration of life for loved ones who had passed and now that many pandemic health restrictions have been lifted, there is a return to community gatherings following a death. Lapier explained these gatherings allow for people to grieve in a supportive environment; noting how in a rural community these are especially important.

More information on Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Homes is available at www.marsdenmclaughlin.com.

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