The Pray family started in funeral service in 1921 when Ernest and Myron Pray were asked to join the local “Undertaking” and Furniture company in downtown Charlotte. The partnership was built on the Golden Rule, “Treat families we serve as if they were our own family.”
The Prays still conduct their service using the same philosophy.
Three generations of the Pray family continue to serve the families of greater Eaton County. Joe Pray Sr., Joe E. Pray, and Tyler Pray. Lori Pray serves as the business administrator. Dana Pray, also a licensed funeral director, serves as board member and consultant.
Over the years the Prays have seen many changes in funeral services. Many services were conducted in the home of the deceased in the 20s. In the 1940s buildings constructed to accommodate the crowds of mourners evolved.
Prays have led many of the changes in funeral services. The most recent change is the emphasis of the funeral being the celebration of the treasured memories of a person’s life. Families bring in touchstone items, photos or mementos that have stories connected with them, to recall the memories of the deceased. These are arranged to tell the story of an individual’s life. Services have included motorcycles, covered wagons, aircraft, and hot rods. Webcasting accommodates family who are across the country.
“We have developed our talents and the tools to create these meaningful experiences to help the family draw support from the community,” said Joe E Pray. “This helps the bereaved family adjust to life without the deceased family member. That helps them smile again.”
Pray Funeral Home’s approach can be best described as “Setting the Stage” for a family’s time to gather with their friends. The first tool that Prays use is imagination. It may be a small-scale rowboat, a sand castle, or a putting green, that sets the stage for each family to help recall and celebrate the deceased’s interests. This makes it easier for the friends to recall their favorite stories of the deceased. That leads to continued support for the family.
Another tool Pray Funeral Home uses for creating memorable experiences is providing a place to record life stories. Each person has a story that is precious to their family. Pray’s goal is to help each family gather these stories, both at the time of a service, and before. This is important because we use these stories to show the personality of the deceased. Sharing the individual’s stories often imparts lessons that can be learned from their experiences or philosophies.
Be Remembered.com is a new tool that Pray Funeral Home is offering to the community free of charge. This online website assists individuals and family members in gathering and preserving the stories and memories of an individual. This provides an invaluable and cherished treasure trove of family history for future generations to hold and celebrate. “Sharing and celebrating these treasured memories is often the best way to help a family through the loss of a family member,” said Joe E Pray.
Pray’s commitment to the community remains the same as it always has been, “We keep searching for the best ways to take care of the family who has experienced a death”, said Joe E Pray. “Our philosophy remains the same, care for the family, tell the story, Remember a Life Well Lived, and you will help heal their hearts.”