- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
A new funeral home in Middletown offers more than 60 years of combined experience of serving thousands of families.
Celebration of Life services at Preston Charles Funeral Home, 918 South Main Street, include traditional, memorial and cremation services, plus pre-planning, notary public and services honoring veterans.
The business is the work of owner and executive director Preston Charles Jr., who has been in the funeral industry for 36 years as funeral director, embalmer and master restorative artist and also owns and operates a location in Lockland.
“While in mortuary school, I was the class leader in artistic competence and restorative art, facets that were developed in me by the late, great Walter D. Hall, whom I emulated in the art and science of embalming,” Charles said.
Charles said Warren Clarke, the funeral home’s operations director and chief embalmer, has 20 years of expertise, while Kamira Davis, managing director of Middletown operations, has 5 years of industry experience as both a funeral director and embalmer.
Charles said Clarke is “truly one of the most proficient embalmers” he has seen in his the funeral industry. “He understands every aspect of the science involving embalming coupled with artistic competence,” Charles said.
Davis’ professional experience from her previous employer gives her “a vast knowledge, patience, a loving personality and a true gift of helping others,” he said.
All three were actively involved in the presentation of loved ones throughout decades of work at various incarnations of Hall-Jordan and Pretty Funeral Homes in Middletown and Cincinnati, Charles said.
Now that “significant” capital repairs have been made to the building including painting, new fixtures and furniture and resurfacing the parking lot, the business is ready to celebrate the beginning of its new journey, Charles said. That’s why the business is holding a grand opening/open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. features Ed ‘Sax’ Thomas, plus food, beverages and and door prizes.
Charles said the funeral home business has been a major part of his life since he was 17 years old.
“Prior to that, I wanted be a reconstructive surgeon for life trauma scenarios, but after … a funeral procession went passed my childhood home in Cleveland … seeing all of this piqued my interest about the funeral industry,” he said.
His mother, who directed Strowder Funeral Home, was reluctant of his career path.
“The owner was a friend of my mom and her purpose in me meeting and discussing the industry was to completely to deter curiosity and put a halt to my career pursuit,” Charles said. “Much to her chagrin, I was on my way.”
The funeral business is an important endeavor for Charles and his team because “every family should be afforded the opportunity to celebrate the life of their loved one with the upmost care, professionalism, and accommodation to their needs and desires,” he said.
“My job is to help families facilitate a meaningful, artistic, professional, and a compassionate delivery of services with love, expertise and the upmost integrity,” Charles said. “This can only be accomplished when you connect with people with patience, prayer and genuine love and concern and others.”