Smith Funeral Homes have been in Clinton County for 70 years, having begun in 1948 in New Vienna where they remain to this day. In 1973, the business was expanded to Wilmington on North South Street to a building that originally was a residence and at one point a nursing home, and now is more than a century old.
Funeral Directors and husband-and-wife Shane C. Smith and Tricia “Niki” Smith carry on a family tradition and comprise the third generation of the Smith Family to operate the local funeral homes.
“We’ve adapted with the times,” said Niki.
Among the more recent adaptations are expanded cremation options, doing green-friendly burials, and doing pet cremations.
“We’ve been doing cremations for many years, but it has become more and more of a requested service,” Shane said. There are many options available with cremations, he added.
There are, he said, a lot of personalization options with cremation, and also different types of memorial services that can be conducted with them.
The Smiths elaborated on green-friendly burials.
Presently, there are only a few cemeteries in Ohio where “a true green burial” is allowed, none of which are in Clinton County. But there are some green-friendly options that can be done, said Shane.
Niki said Smith Funeral Homes have some really close options to the green burial that they have researched and been able to find.
“We have some options available where we can still meet requirements of cemeteries around here, but still do a green-friendly burial,” said Shane.
To give a person an idea of “a true green burial,” it is basically where the body returns back to the earth. They don’t involve vaults and the graves are not marked with upright monuments, though a tree may be planted.
The closest cemetery allowing true green burials is Yellow Springs, and Smith Funeral Homes can do burials there.
Shane said he would be happy to talk to anybody who has questions about the green-friendly burials that Smith Funeral Homes can provide.
Shane and Niki have seven children, ranging in age from 22 to 7. A couple of the children work at the funeral homes part-time while they’re going through school. Though they’re not sure yet whether they want to pursue the funeral service as a lifelong career, Niki said they will definitely come away from the experience knowing how to serve and how to work.
With seven kids, there’s a pretty good shot one of them will extend the family tradition of funeral service to a fourth generation, chuckled Niki.
The common thread through the decades is “a heritage of caring,” said Niki.
“That is what the Smith Family is known for, serving the community and caring for them in a bad time of life when facing the death of a loved one,” she said.
Shane’s father James E. “Jim” Smith and grandfather L. Eugene Smith ran an ambulance service for years before local fire departments starting having life squads. Jim kept on as a volunteer fireman and an EMT for years after the private ambulance service was no longer needed.
Smith Funeral Homes offer a variety of services including traditional services held in the funeral home or other location, visitation and viewing, graveside services, memorial services, military services, and direct burials where there is no service or visitation.
They also offer pre-arrangements.
For Smith Funeral Homes, their four keystone words are family, heritage, quality, service.