By LaKeshia Knarr
RENOVO – Brigitte Morgan began her duties as the new funeral director of Maxwell Funeral Home in Renovo about two weeks ago.
A Latrobe native, her family has a local tie and she is now looking forward to learning more about the community and bringing individualized care to the residents of Clinton County.
She will split her time between the Renovo funeral home and Helt Funeral Chapel in Mill Hall. She and funeral director Ben Blascovich will share duties between the two facilities. In addition, Morgan will be working closely with Charles Maxwell, funeral directing assistant, who is the grandson of the original owner, Mr. Maxwell.
New to the area, Morgan noted an unexpected personal relationship with the small town she now calls home: Renovo.
After relocating to the rural community for the new position, she learned from her mother that her grandmother, Ann Chelan, was born in Renovo.
“She lived here until she was about 4,” Morgan sad, “before the Great Depression.”
Now – Morgan is bringing her knowledge and passion for individualized funeral services back to Central Pennsylvania.
Morgan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
In 2013, she joined the Army Reserves. Currently ranked as a sergeant, Morgan is a member of the 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of Coraopolis, Pa., and specializes in broadcast journalism.
After a discussion with a friend in the military who was going through a mortuary science program, Morgan began to consider the career path for herself.
“I looked into it and it fit into the social work and grief therapy work I’d done in college,” she said.
Morgan went on to attain her funeral director license from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.
After she earned the required credentials, she was hired as an intern funeral director at Heffner Funeral Chapel & Crematory Inc. in York, Pa. She spent about a year and a half in that capacity.
In addition to being funeral director, Morgan is also an embalmer, a certified crematory operator and a certified celebrant. To become a certified celebrant, she took coursework through InSight Institute.
“I’m trained to give personalized funeral ceremonies and services, whether it is for people who are not members of a church or for people who are,” Morgan explained.
For such services, Morgan first meets with a family for “family time.”
“I collect all their stories, their memories. I also gauge how spiritual they want the service to be,” she said. “From there, I put together a service that is centered around the person’s life and the stories the family told me.”
She also plans pre-arrangements with individuals who want to have a direct say in how their own services will be conducted.
“I think the best feeling in the world is when a family looks at you and says you took something off the plate for them. If I’m able to help them in any way, it makes my job better,” she said.
Morgan is looking forward to bringing options to the families of Clinton County, she said.
“I’m excited to be in a small, close-knit community,” she said. “Everyone so far has been so welcoming towards me.”
In her personal life, Morgan is engaged to Jared Drury of Latrobe and is busy planning the nuptials.
To learn more about Maxwell Funeral Home, 205 Fifth St., Renovo, call 570-923-0228. To learn more about Helt Funeral Chapel, 232 Hogan Boulevard, Mill Hall, call 570-748-2722. Visit www.bestlifetributes.com to learn more.