DeBerry Family is Denton’s support system in life and death for 28 Years

DeBerry Family is Denton’s support system in life and death for 28 Years

DeBerry Family is Denton’s support system in life and death for 28 Years
August 10
09:00 2018

Bill DeBerry Funeral Directors, a funeral home and crematorium, is situated unassumingly on the busy street of West University drive in Denton. Established in 1990, the business has been offering its unique services to the community for 28 years.

Founder Bill DeBerry Sr., who passed away in 2016, created his business with his son Bill DeBerry Jr. after realizing there was a need in the community for a funeral service that truly cared about the emotional and financial needs of their customers.

The DeBerrys had previously worked together at a funeral home but became disenchanted with the way the business was being operated. It was profit-driven, and while the DeBerrys understood the need to make a living, they said they wanted their work and their services to be people-driven.

“We decided it was time for us to step out on our own,” DeBerry Jr., 55, said. “We want everyone to be able to have an affordable service.”

Typically, cremation costs can run up to $1,895. For a traditional funeral service, that can cost anywhere between $5,500 and $8,500. Funerals are expensive, so it makes a difference to a grieving family to be able to honor their loved one’s last moments while not breaking the bank.

There are currently three funeral homes in Denton. Two out of the three are family-owned and the other is owned by a group.

“There is a lot of consolidation in the funeral home industry with big businesses buying up all the family-owned firms,” DeBerry Jr. said. “We are fighting the corporate trend and trying to stay family-owned so that people aren’t treated like a number when they come through, but are treated personally.”

Bill DeBerry Jr.’s official title now is the general manager and funeral director/mortician. He took over after his father and said he takes great pride in continuing his father’s legacy, as do the rest of the staff.

“Bill [Sr.] was a good guy,” receptionist and biographical clerk Mayra Calderon, 44, said. “He was well-respected by everyone in the community.”

DeBerry Jr. works with his younger brother Andrew DeBerry, 50, who is another funeral director and family counselor. Andrew’s son, Justin DeBerry, also works there as a funeral director assistant. He is currently attending the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service to earn his degree as an official mortician, the same path DeBerry Jr. took.

DeBerry Funeral Directors has been serving Denton since 1990. Bill DeBerry Sr. opened the firm with his son Bill Deberry Jr. to provide Denton families with more funeral options. Anna Engelland

There are only three mortician schools in all of Texas, a small number for how large the state is. The other two are located in Houston and San Antonio.

It takes 18 months of schooling to graduate with a degree to become a mortician, but many of those classes are the same classes that people take in nursing and other medical pathways. A great amount of information is fed into mortician school students before they take their comprehensive examinations.

The heavy work of a mortician doesn’t stop there, as hours of work are put into preparing each person for their funeral services and ceremonies.

“You’re looking at about eight to 10 man hours,” DeBerry Jr. said. “Not all of it can be done in one day. We have to have meetings with the family, and they have to choose the hairdresser and bring the clothes. It’s a process.”

According to DeBerry Jr., the hardest part of the job is trying to schedule the funeral when somebody wants it.

“We usually have to coordinate with the church of their preference and their minister of choice, and if we have other funerals happening that day, we have to consider that as well,” DeBerry Jr. said.

But no matter the difficulties, the DeBerrys said they have no desire to sell or retire the business. They would like to keep the business in the family for as long as they can through Justin DeBerry as he finishes up mortuary school, and beyond that.

“I think he [Justin] is doing it because of my dad [DeBerry Sr.],” Andrew said. “It’s like being a mamma’s boy, except he was a grand-daddy’s boy. They were like two peas in a pod.”

In a service and industry that many people would shy away from, the DeBerry family has faithfully served the Denton community. They said they love what they do, and the community shares many sentiments on the business’s social media pages.

“The most rewarding part of the job is after the service,” DeBerry Jr. said. “The spouse, husband or wife will shake my hand or hug me, and say, ‘Thank you. You made this easy for me.’ That’s the most rewarding part.”

Featured Image: Bill DeBerry Jr. (left) and his brother Andrew DeBerry (right) run DeBerry Funeral Directors together. They continued in the family business after their father’s death in 2016. Anna Engelland

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Claire Lin

Claire Lin

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1 Comment

  1. Tanya
    Tanya August 12, 16:21

    I know when I used Deberry funeral home for my younger brothers service they were ABSOLUTELY THE BEST! I could not have been treated more like family. The professionalism, the caring, the reasonable price and ease of them handling everything was overwhelming! Love this family owned business and these gentlemen too!

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