All of the new laws have been put in place, the new flooring has arrived, and the caskets are slowly migrating to the newly-defined store room.
Jared “Tater” and Sarah Whitehead have made a lot of progress since they purchased the funeral home in December, 2021 and began renovations in early January.
Soon, the Whiteheads hope the space will feel like a fitting place to honor the lives celebrated there.
“When people come in, we have to apologize and say ‘sorry for the mess,’” Sarah said.
“We just want to bring this building back to life so the people have something they can be proud of. Nobody wants to be here anyway. It’s usually a bad time for them, and we want to make it as comfortable and inviting as we can.”
The Whiteheads expect to have the renovations completed in the coming months.
“Once it’s done, we’ll have a completed chapel with the capability to run DVDs, videos and music. We’ll have a seating capacity of around 50 to 75, if we were pushing it. We’ll have all new office and consultation spaces.
Comforter Funeral Home has been serving Port St. Joe and surrounding communities since it was first founded by the Comforter family in 1946.
The Whiteheads inherited this legacy, jumping straight into the role, even amidst renovations.
“December 10 was our first call,” Said Sarah. “The community’s goetten behind us, and it hasn’t slowed down since,” Jared added.
Jared has been working in the funeral business for more than a decade. He began working in the funeral industry in 2010 and graduated from Jefferson State Comunity College with a degree in Mortuary Sciences in 2013.
But until he purchased Comforter, he had never owned and operated one himself.
“I started when I was 19 in 2010 in Jackson County, where I was born and raised.” Jared said. “We had talked about trying to go into business for ourselves,” he said. “And through a mutual friend, we wound up becoming good friends with Mr. Rocky and Ms. Anne, the former owners of Comforter.”
The former owners of the funeral home specified that they did not want to sell the property to corporate owners, but to leave it in the hands of “someone who would take care of the people,” continuing the business’s century-old legacy of family ownership.
The Whiteheads said the process of buying Comforter was long, but that they felt it was the right move for them.
“We prayed about this so hard, and we know we’re right where we need to be. God opened every single door. We didn’t push any open. We just waited for His timing,” Sarah said.
“We love it here. We love the town, and the community has welcomed us with open arms.”
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