Some folks think Paul and Jennifer Hardy have a depressing job. They couldn’t disagree more.
After operating Blake Funeral Home in Chelmsford since 2010, the couple purchased Dracut Funeral Home from the Gacek family in 2020.
Though they deal with death on a daily basis, the Hardys are proud that families entrust them with the funeral arrangements for loved ones.
“I think people see the long hours and dealing with grieving people, but there’s so much more than that,” Paul says. “I have four to five cards on my desk from people thanking us and praising us for helping them. And, honestly, it’s our honor to help them.”
Paul joined the staff at Blake in 2004 before buying it from Richard Burkinshaw in 2010. Several years later, he designed and built a brand-new, larger facility. Shortly after getting that major project out of the way, the Gacek family approached him about buying Dracut Funeral Home, which they had opened in 1985.
Paul was recently recognized by being installed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association.
Jennifer was vice president of technology for Putnam Investments before she decided, in 2018, to join her husband on the staff at Blake. When she and Paul married in 2002, they lived in Dracut for five years before moving to Chelmsford, where they still live. But Jennifer is thrilled to be working in Dracut, where she spends most of her time.
“Dracut is a great town,” she says.
Between the two funeral homes, the Hardys are busy almost daily with a wake or service, either cremation, traditional or memorial. They oversaw more than 450 last year alone, and Paul says they have been “blessed with a good team” of support staff to allow them to handle both locations.
“You have to be willing to give up so much of your own time caring for others,” Paul says. “We go above and beyond as much as we can for families.”
“To me, that’s 5 percent of the job,” Jennifer says of the services. “It’s the behind-the-scenes things. It’s the trust people have to have in the funeral home they select. We can’t take the pain and grief away from them, but we can give them peace at a difficult time.”
Because many of the people with whom they come in contact are grieving, the Hardys like to get involved with fun and uplifting community events, like the Chelmsford Fourth of July Parade and the Dracut Christmas Tree Lighting.
“We like to be part of the community,” Jennifer says. “There is a lot of sadness in our job, even though it’s very fulfilling, so we like to be involved in fun family events.”
The Lowell natives have two daughters, Briana, 14, and Katherine, 13.
March 11 is National Funeral Directors Day and Mortician Recognition Day, and Dracut Economic Development thanks Paul and Jennifer Hardy and Dracut Funeral Home for their service to the town.
For more information on Dracut Funeral Home, go to www.dracutfuneralhome.com or call 978-957-5032.