Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Business Aids in Grieving Process for Four Decades; Milestone for Ipswich Funeral Firm

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Business Aids in Grieving Process for Four Decades; Milestone for Ipswich Funeral Firm

Article excerpt

FIRM FOCUS

ASHLEY JONES

SECOND-GENERATION family business Len Russell Funeral Directors celebrates 40 years in September this year.

It is recognised as one of the few remaining locally owned and operated funeral firms in Ipswich.

Len and Pam Russell started the business in 1979 as an attempt to keep a locally owned service as many other firms were being bought out by international organisations.

"Len and Pam saw a number of local firms be acquired and this concerned Len. He worked for a local firm and when it was taken over he left and started to consider starting his own business," co-owner Darren Degen said.

In the early days Len took on the role of funeral director while Pam supported him with general support and administration. She also took care of all of the floral arrangements.

"There is no doubt that he was very well respected, they both were. When I serve older local families today, it often comes from past support. We have a good reputation in the local area," he said.

Pam's two sons, Bradley and Darren Degen, have stepped up to take on the family business. Darren boasts a strong hospitality background.

"It was as things were busier, I was asked to come in to assist. It was a big change for me. There was no pressure on me to stay, but I got used to the work and decided, in July of 1997, to come into the business full time," Darren said.

Pam passed away in 2004 leaving the firm to Bradley and Darren as co-owners.

It was only two years on when Len passed away. This made way for Darren to step up in the business.

Bradley's wife Joanne takes care of the floral arrangements and is actively involved in the firm.

"We upgraded the firm by establishing a website, brochure and other material. This was a tough climate and with most of our competition now owned by overseas firms. We needed to come into line with other providers. …

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