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Donnie Darby knows that many people don’t have $9,000 to $12,000 to spend on the burial of a loved one. But he says families can buy professional funeral services at a more reasonable cost.
Darby and his family and business partners aim to provide that through their new business, Faith Funeral Service, in the White Rose Plaza on U.S. 321 Bypass near York.
Darby said he has more than 22 years of experience in the funeral business in Chester and York. He decided last year to venture out on his own with the help of family members.
“We are a local family,” said Darby, a York native who graduated in 1992 from York Comprehensive High School, where he was a standout basketball player for the Cougars. “And a lot of people have reached out to support us because of what we’re trying to do.”
Sometimes, Derby noted, getting started in the funeral home business can be difficult. “But it’s been a blessing so far,” he said, noting that Faith Funeral Service has assisted about 34 families since opening in the past year.
Darby owns the full-service funeral business with his mother, Edith White, also a York native. The funeral service includes a staff of about 10, including several family members.
Darby, who graduated from Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta in 1993, has previously worked at King Funeral Home in Chester and at Wright Funeral Home in York.
Nelson King now works as the service’s mortician, while Darby oversees the day-to-day office operations. His mother is an attendant who works with the families. A cousin, Rondell Ware, is vice president of the firm, and Darby’s daughter, Donnia, helps out in the office.
“We are a very close-knit family,” he said.
Darby said the service offers a complete funeral package with burial starting at $3,200. Cost can run up to $7,500 for a burial, he said. Cremations begin at $550, with a memorial service and cremation at $1450.
“We have difference packages set up, payment plans and things like that to help people,” he said.
Darby said he knows that a lot of people don’t have life insurance if they have lost their jobs. Without the benefit of life insurance, he said, many loved ones can’t afford steep funeral costs.
“When the funeral service is all over, the mailman is still coming,” Darby said. “You still have other bills to pay, and we just wanted to provide a professional service at a reasonable cost.”
He said he has worked with a casket company to offer services at a more reasonable markup. He also believes people need to compare prices when shopping for funeral services because costs can be inflated.
“You’re going to get basically the same professional service,” he said. “But comparing prices, that is the way to go these days.”
Darby said assisting families with the funeral process has been an interest of his since he was a teenager. He said he enjoys helping families and sees his work as a calling.
“It’s not for everybody. That’s why I feel it’s a calling,” he said. “It’s like going into the ministry.”
Want to know more?
Faith Funeral Service, 730 U.S. 321 Bypass, York, offers a complete line of funeral services, including burial and cremation. It has a full-service chapel and a hearse and two limousines. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The service is available 24 hours a day by calling 803-684-1125.