Published On: Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Everden Rust Now Penticton’s Last Remaining Family-Owned Funeral Service Provider

PENTICTON - “It seemed to come out of nowhere.”

This was the response of Jason Everden, Managing Funeral Director and Partner at Everden Rust Funeral Services & Crematorium, when he realized his company was the only remaining family-owned funeral provider and crematorium in Penticton.

Through Park Lawn Corporation’s purchase of Hansons Arbor Funeral Chapels and Crematorium, the company acquired 75 per cent market share in Penticton’s funeral services industry.

“It’s been good for us in a sense,” says Jason. “We’ve had families calling non-stop over the last three weeks, wanting to transfer their prepaid funerals to a family-owned company.

“As an owner of Everden Rust Funeral Services and Crematorium, I answer to the families I serve, not to shareholders and that makes a huge difference for our clients.”

According to Jason, customization and personal care are crucial in the funeral services industry, and family-owned businesses are able to provide that flexibility.

“A family-owned place treats people like family,” he says. “For example, my Dad, Bill, retired four years ago, but he just put on a funeral service last week for a man he knew.

“He’s been doing this work since 1969, and we’ve been in the area since 1988, so he’s well known in the area. We have so many family-to-family connections in the Okanagan because we grew up here.”

This same Park Lawn purchase included a West Kelowna funeral home, which again left Everden Rust as the only remaining family-owned funeral service provider in the community.

In fact, Park Lawn Corporation has purchased eight family-owned funeral homes and crematoriums since February 2017.

“In Kelowna, where I primarily work, two out of four of our funeral service providers are family owned,” says Jason. “This roughly 50 per cent ratio is fairly typical throughout BC. The speed at which these Penticton institutions were bought seemed to come out of nowhere.”

Everden Rust is currently owned by Bill’s sons, Jason, Jeff, and Jonathon, who are in the midst of a 15 year plan to purchase Bill’s remaining company shares.

“My son, Brandon, works for us too,” says Jason. “He’s only 18 and just graduated this spring, but he’s really impressive.

“When he walked across the stage, they read a bio which he had written. It said he was ‘interested in business,’ and that ‘he was going to work for his Dad and take over the family business.”

It appears that Everden Rust Funeral Services & Crematorium may be family-owned for years to come.