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A day in the life: Always on duty

Funeral director Jost enjoys the odd hours

Staff writer

Funeral director Jared Jost knows his services may be needed any time, day or night, so he stays ready.

Jost, the owner and operator of Jost Funeral Home of Hillsboro, said he is effectively on-call all the time. He has to drop everything when someone dies, and at times this interferes with personal life. Once, Jost missed his daughter’s birthday party.

There can be advantages to the irregular hours, though. The Hillsboro native occasionally makes weekday shopping trips to Wichita with his wife.

“I enjoy the odd hours,” he said.

Timeliness is important, for two reasons. The law requires embalming unless the deceased is buried within 24 hours of dying. Prompt work also shows respect for the family of the deceased, Jost said.

“When a death occurs, it becomes all about the family,” Jost said.

Jost handles embalming and funeral directing at the local funeral home.

If there are no delays, the time from receiving the call about a death to the funeral can be as little as three or four days. Travel for distant family and friends is the most common delay.

When Jost gets a call, he immediately goes to retrieve the deceased for embalming. The goal of embalming is maintaining the dignity of the deceased, Jost said. A natural appearance gives loved ones a chance to say goodbye. Embalming also must make it safe for the public to be near the body.

Within a day or so, Jost meets with the family to make funeral arrangements. There are many arrangements that must be made for a funeral. Jost contacts clergy to determine when the funeral can be held.

Flowers are ordered, music arrangements are made, and a hairdresser is contacted to do the deceased’s hair.

Jost also handles the death certificate, makes sure a burial plot is available, and contacts a grave digger.

“You interact with a lot of people so the funeral can be orderly and soon,” Jost said.

When arrangements are made, Jost handles the viewing. After the viewing, making sure everything is in place for the funeral, is the final step.

Many people’s perception is that Jost, as a funeral director, is emotionally immune to death, but Jost said that is not the truth. He has to remain outwardly calm to best serve the family.

There have been times when a close friend or someone young has passed away, and those times made it harder for Jost to separate his emotions, he said.

“The death of someone young is a reality check,” Jost said.

Grieving is an emotional rollercoaster, but it should not focus on death, Jost said. It’s about celebrating a life lived.

“I think no matter how tragic circumstances have been — and families have told me this — you have to have some laughter,” Jost said.

He sees it all the time. Family and friends go from weeping at the funeral service to sharing stories about the deceased afterward at the lunch.

Jost started on his career path while a student at Hillsboro High School. He worked part-time at the funeral home, which at the time was Hillsboro Memorial Chapel.

After graduating from HHS in 1996, he attended college at the School of Mortuary Science in Kansas City.

Jost started work as a funeral director in Hillsboro in 1999, and bought the funeral home in 2001.

Jost is married to Julia Jost. They have two children, Moriah and Adam.

The best part of the job is working with people.

“It’s an occupation where you get to deal with a wide variety of people,” Jost said.

Last modified Feb. 4, 2009

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