September 29, 2013

New owners at R.W. Walker Funeral Home


PLATTSBURGH — R.W. Walker Funeral Home in the City of Plattsburgh is under new ownership.

Longtime employees Barbara Maggy and Trevor Rabideau took over the business on June 21, as former owners Richard and John Walker moved into retirement. Maggy said there will be little change.

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“We want to keep the Walker tradition, but with our own take on it,” she said.

Ex-owners to help

The change doesn’t mean the Walkers won’t be around, Maggy said, as they have agreed to help if things get really busy. Rabideau said some families have specifically requested one of the brothers for assistance.

Maggy said she’s been at R.W. Walker for 25 years, while Rabideau said he’s been there for 17 years. It still fells like a family-owned business, she said, as the Walkers always made them feel like they were part of the family.

R.W. Walker is a full-service funeral home. It offers everything from pre-planning services through on-going post-funeral support. 

“We’re continually there for them as long as they need us to be,” Maggy said.

She said one bonus they offer is they have both male and female funeral directors. That gives families some flexibility in working with whoever they are most comfortable.

The home itself is tastefully decorated with a wide variety of antique furniture, lamps and other accessories. There are two viewing rooms, a product-display area and offices.

There is also a children’s waiting room with a television, books and coloring books to keep the young ones occupied.

They have made efforts to provide a brighter atmosphere in the viewing areas.

“We are trying to use better lighting to make it seem not so dreary,” Rabideau said.

Chapel available

The R.W. Walker Memorial Chapel is the largest room, with enough space to have an actual funeral. Rabideau said more and more people have asked for that service in the past decade.

R.W. Walker offers caskets, urns and other products from Batesville. Rabideau said they are the leader in the industry.

The company continues to offer multiple ways to personalize a loved one’s final resting place, such as embroidered interiors, medallions, personalized panels, memory drawers and more.

Rabideau said one important service is creation of a pre-need funeral trust, which provides for a guarantee in services. It also lets people focus on their family rather than planning a funeral at the difficult time when a loved one has passed.

Maggy said that takes a lot of the worry out of funeral preparations.

“They know their loved one will get what they wanted,” she said.

On-line condolences allow acquaintances a way to offer long-distance support. 

“They can still give that personal touch to the family when they can’t be there,” Maggy said.

Memorial offered

R.W. Walker invites all the families it has served each year to a memorial service every December. Each family receives a guardian angel ornament and is invited to a reception following the service. 

“We do this around the holidays, a very difficult time of year, to bring together all those who are feeling the same pain of loss in their lives,” Maggy said.

R.W. Walker is also a member of the local Veterans and Family Memorial Care Program.

That helps them assist families in arranging a full military service they have so honorably earned along with added benefits.

“We are proud to serve the veterans and their families in our community,” Rabideau said.

Robert Walker and his wife, Lois, opened the R.W. Walker Funeral Home in Chazy in 1938. They moved to the present location at 69 Court St. in Plattsburgh in 1944.

They acquired the property at 71 Court St. in 1967 and eventually joined the two buildings, which doubled the size of the funeral home.

R.W. Walker was incorporated in 1960, and became affiliated with the International Order of the Golden Rule at that time. It is an organization of independent, family-owned funeral homes that span the globe and adhere to the same strict set of ethics and practices.

The Walkers sold the business to their sons, Richard and John Walker, in 1979.

Maggy said she grew up in Chateaugay and received her Mortuary Science Degree from SUNY Canton. She started in the funeral home business in 1982.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” Maggy said.

Support appreciated

Rabideau said he grew up in Ellenburg and also received his Mortuary Science Degree from SUNY Canton. He started with R.W. Walker in 1996.

“This is the only place I’ve ever worked,” he said.

The new owners appreciate the support the business has received from the community through the years.

“We thank the families for the confidence and trust they place in us to care for their loved one,” Rabideau said.

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