Celebrating Lives Well Lived
“When the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
Death is the one experience none of us escapes. Some believe it is the ending of time, a life full of experiences; for others, they believe it is just the beginning of a longer journey. In virtually all cases, though, it is a difficult and often traumatic time of pain for those left behind.
In the Lewes/Rehoboth area, Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium on King’s Highway in Lewes provides needed services and emotional support during a time that is challenging.
Since 1895, Parsell Funeral Homes has been helping the families of Delaware celebrate lives well lived. And in doing so, they are also committed to helping the living, donating back to the community, and supporting organizations like CAMP Rehoboth.
Andrew Parsell, Vice President and co-owner of the business along with his father and brother, says they try to be hypersensitive to customer service and take pride in their many services, including education, guidance, and the funeral or cremation itself. Parsell, a life-long Lewes resident, understands that there are different needs in different communities, and he, his family, and their large team understand the needs of local people.
Parsell has always been a volunteer (including a stint as a volunteer fireman) and has a desire to do anything to help his community and its residents in need.
More specifically, the funeral home’s staff is known for their sensitivity to the LGBTQ community. From the moment marriage equality came to Delaware, the staff made certain they recognized survivors as legal spouses. Prior to the legalities, they always treated partners with the respect they deserved.
Also, if they learn that a decedent was LGBTQ, they automatically forward obituaries to Letters. They are very sensitive to the survivors, considering all people’s personal beliefs and relationships.
Andrew Parsell notes that the funeral home views its role as front-line defense of personal choices. It is “in the DNA” of all of their workers to want to cover all of the community, no matter whom they love, and to respect both the deceased and the living in the community.
Life is full of opportunities to show someone we love them. A funeral or memorial service is an event that can be a natural extension of that love. It celebrates choices made and relationships shared, and honors the memory of the loved one. It is about bringing loving friends together at a time of loss.
Growing up in the family business, Andrew Parsell always wanted to be like his dad, so it was natural that he follow in his footsteps. He attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, and returned to Lewes to take his place at the funeral home.
He, his family members, and the entire staff offer many services to families who are losing or have lost a loved one. These include funerals and cremations as unique as the decedent’s life, tribute videos, personalized printing, memorial websites, veterans’ services, and grief support. A family can have services anywhere, and in any way. Choices include the place of celebration, day of the week, and time of day; the musical selection; and what prayers will be said or songs sung. Parsell can arrange to have doves, butterflies, or balloons released at the close of the service. Keepsake gifts of wildflower seeds or a tree seedling can be given. They help create a memorable and meaningful service to honor a loved one.
Another service the funeral home provides is pet cremation. Why pets? Simply put, Parsell knows that pets are part of the family. Nothing less. “A house fire in our neighborhood caused the loss of several pets from smoke inhalation,” a resident said. “Parsell Funeral Homes was available in the middle of the night to handle the sad situation. You can count on them for caring service.” Many local people recount they find the staff very kind in arranging pet cremation services.
Since Parsell Funeral Homes is a local, family owned and operated business. They have a unique understanding of our community and work hard to support local organizations and be there for the families who need them. ▼
Scott Burdette: Pre-Planning is Key
Scott Burdette, who joined Parsell Funeral Homes in April 2011, is a pre-planning consultant, certified by the National Funeral Directors Association.
Scott was born and raised in Maryland and moved to Rehoboth Beach in 2002. He has spent eight years at Parsell’s, the last four in pre-planning. He finds fulfillment from helping people through a difficult time, and especially meeting with ailing people who are pre-planning their funerals to prevent one source of heartbreak for their families.
Scott and the entire staff believe that pre-planning is key to a successful end-of-life experience. By pre-planning, a person is investing in their family’s future and helping them avoid some of the pain of the time of loss. They especially note the difficulties of a person who is alone. Often in these circumstances, the Parsell’s staff are the only ones who know a client’s wishes. And they can help regardless of a client’s finances. There are always options with a pre-planned experience.
For Scott, the best thing about working at Parsell’s is the environment; the staff is like one big family. As a married gay man, Burdette says “the funeral home’s focus on the LBGTQ community, as well as the community as a whole,” makes his job even more rewarding. ▼