We pride ourselves on providing funeral professionals with an inspiring mix of memorial products. But what inspires us are the stories of compassionate customers like Laine Eckersell.
Laine Eckersell knows how important stories are to families, his own included. A favorite part of the Eckersell family narrative is the story of how his grandfather, who founded Eckersell Memorial Chapel in 1928, met his grandmother.
“My grandfather had an orchestra…he played the drums. The band was playing at a dance in Rexburg one night, and my grandmother was there – until she got kicked out because she was doing the ‘Shimmy,’ Laine says with a smile. “But my grandfather kind of liked that. So he went around and brought her back in through the back door and let her sit by him.”
Cherished family stories are especially comforting when a loved one passes. Family and friends want to gather to remember and honor a life in the most personal, meaningful way possible, and Laine recognizes his responsibility in helping families do that. “Anything I can do to help them through the grieving process, I will do,” he says. “And that’s one of the reasons I value my relationship with Batesville so much.”
Laine points out that beyond the high quality of Batesville products, he appreciates the greater emphasis on personalization. “I was able to spend a few days at Jawacdah Farm in Batesville, Indiana, where I learned more about the products and selling the products – but just as importantly to me, we discussed special ideas to help people through the grieving process. Things that I had never considered.”
Laine recalls one instance when personalization was especially profound: a service for two teenage girls who lost their lives in an accident on the way home from a rodeo one night. “The families, who were close, each came in separately to make arrangements – and both ended up picking the same casket, a granite casket from Batesville,” Laine remembers. “That inspired them to have a joint service. What made it even more memorable was that the family of one of the girls brought in silver markers so their many high-school friends could sign the caskets. The kids felt like they were part of the service and they were able to say goodbye in a truly meaningful way,” Laine continues. “We realized then that’s what Batesville had been teaching. To personalize, and not put restrictions on what families can do. It’s very powerful.”
In Laine’s eyes, the embodiment of Batesville’s commitment to personalization is his own rep, Logan Ellis. “He’s not just my rep; he’s a close friend,” says Laine. Logan, according to Laine, will always go the extra mile. Sometimes literally. “My dad died this past March, and my mother really wanted the bronze casket, which I didn’t have at the time,” says Laine. “So I called Logan, and it was there for us in time for the viewing – he had it driven all the way from Los Angeles, 18 hours away.”
Honest. Caring. Hard-working. Laine uses words like these to describe Logan. But he could just as easily be talking about the people of his hometown of Rigby, Idaho, population 4,043.
“The city of Rigby is a very close-knit community; we are friends with everybody,” he says. “People stop in off the street just to visit with us. We go to their weddings, baby blessings, ball games,” he says. “I don’t shop outside of Rigby for most things because the people who own the businesses here are my friends, and I want to support them.”
In fact, Laine finds the hardest thing he has to do is charge for funerals. “I would rather do it for free if I was independently wealthy – that would be wonderful, but I’m not.”
Wealth is measured in many ways, however. For Laine Eckersell of Rigby, Idaho – and those like him who’ve chosen the noble pursuit of being a funeral director – there is untold treasure in the compassion and support they offer to the families of their hometowns every day.