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FRACTIONAL DISPLAY: Henrietta Brewer shows off Picayune Funeral Home’s fractional casket display. It allows the business to showcase more options, and also avoid the uncomfortable nature of grieving families viewing full caskets. Photo by Jeremy Pittari
FRACTIONAL DISPLAY: Henrietta Brewer shows off Picayune Funeral Home’s fractional casket display. It allows the business to showcase more options, and also avoid the uncomfortable nature of grieving families viewing full caskets.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Archived Story

Picayune Funeral Home since 1976

Published 7:00am Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Picayune Funeral Home has been providing end-of-life services to the area for more than 38 years.

Original owners Norman Sims, J.P. Burns and Hilbert Miller established the business in February 1976.

It was subsequently sold to Mike and Carolyn Sims in 1990, before being sold to the current owners, Ted and Henrietta Brewer, on May 3 of 2006, said Henrietta Brewer.

Ted Brewer brings more than 40 years of corporate funeral director and embalmer experience to the family-owned business.

The couple is originally from Arkansas, but loves the beach. That love of the ocean and sandy beaches is part of the reason they chose Picayune when they decided to purchase a funeral home, Henrietta Brewer said. A year and a half before moving to Picayune Ted Brewer decided he wanted to go into business for himself. After touring places as far as Florida, Arizona and Maine, her husband came to Picayune to help the previous owners run the business in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time the couple fell in love with Picayune and decided to purchase Picayune Funeral Home.

The family-run business focuses on putting families ahead of profit margins, Henrietta Brewer said. In that respect, Henrietta Brewer said she and her husband do their best to keep the overhead low.

“We had to look those people in the eye and we just wasn’t going to have that kind of markup on it,” Henrietta Brewer said.

The Brewers also employ staff that display compassion during each family’s difficult time.

“We sat the staff down and said, ‘This is how we will operate. Every family that comes in here has lost a loved one and when you’re with them you treat them as you would feel if you lost the same,’” Henrietta Brewer said.

Since purchasing the funeral home, the family has invested at least $250,000 in renovations and upgrades. One of those upgrades installed a fractional casket display room. Instead of displaying full caskets, the room shows only a quarter of a casket. Henrietta Brewer said the display not only allows the funeral home to display 35 caskets, but puts families at ease while selecting a casket. She said some people are put off when they see a full casket, so this display diminishes that problem. Ted Brewer’s time in the corporate world provided the idea to install the fractional casket room.

The displays also employ a drawer with lining examples under each casket so customers know what they are purchasing.

“They can touch, feel and see exactly what it’s going to look like without it being this big casket,” Henrietta Brewer said.

Other services offered at Picayune Funeral Home include cremations, life insurance policies, internments, funerals, website based memorial and pre-need services. Picayune Funeral Home also owns Memorial Gardens on Miss. 43 South, which is also the location of the only crematory in southwest Mississippi. Because of that fact, cremations for other funeral homes as far away as New Orleans are conducted in Pearl River County, Henrietta Brewer said.

The couple’s son is currently working towards obtaining his business degree with intentions of running the business end of Picayune Funeral Home in the future, Henrietta Brewer said.

Picayune Funeral home is located at 815 South Haugh Avenue and can be reached by calling 601-798-5238 or visiting their website at http://www.picayunefuneral.com/.

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