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Funeral home has a new owner

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | July 7, 2021 12:40 PM

Mick Mellett has been a fixture in Bonners Ferry for over four decades as the director of the Bonners Ferry Funeral Home. New owners Chad and Abbi Workman acknowledge they have some big shoes to fill.

Mellett was looking for someone who would give back to the community, someone who would continue the business in the same vein as he had run it for so many years. That’s what Chad Workman intends to do.

“I want to try to keep doing what he has done and build upon the legacy that he’s built,” Workman said. “He’s made this community his family and he’s helped his family the way that he would want to be helped.”

Having spent his teen years helping his father Bruce at the family funeral home in Portland, it’s a business that’s in his blood, although he wouldn’t call it that. “It’s not a business transaction, I’m helping families, first and foremost,” Workman said.

“It’s a special calling [and] takes a special kind of person,” Abbi Workman added. “Being able to be compassionate and realize every person is special, special to someone, Chad does really well with that.”

“We’re very faith based so that helps, knowing that there’s a plan beyond this life, she added. “That perspective allows Chad to serve people better.”

Chad Workman agreed. “I’m always looking for opportunities to help and serve,” he said. “I want to ease somebody’s burden and help them in their time of need.”

Abbi Workman said she didn’t know anything about the funeral business before she met Chad but she’s proud of her husband and everything he does for the families they see.

“Actually seeing what Chad does, you have those moments where you ask big questions and [it] makes you question your own perspective and what you know about death. I asked his dad and I’ve asked Chad, too, how are you not just crying all the time because you’re dealing with these grieving families who have lost significant people in their lives? His dad said, ‘Sometimes you cry with them, too.’”

“It’s hard to watch someone,” Chad said. “You know they’ve been married 60, 70 years and they’re just devastated and now they’re alone. Being able to be there for them and just listen, letting them talk and letting them share stories and the times that they’ve had, It’s really special to have that connection and to be able to be there for them and allow them to express their feelings.”

Both Chad and Abbi Workman went to high school in Rexburg and have wanted to return to their home state ever since they moved to Oregon, and then Washington state. They welcome the change and being able to come back to a small town and being part of a community

“That was [an] appeal of being up here,” Chad Workman said. “It’s a lot less busy here and so having the freedom to make decisions for myself, being able to slow down is really nice.”

The couple said they are looking forward to getting involved in the community and their church.

That said, it’s still a very involved business, the pair said.

“The amount of time that you are putting into it” is a lot, Chad Workman said. “It’s just me up here, it was just Mick, so I am on call every day.”

What about a vacation? “That’s the give and take. I would have to find someone to come up and cover for me.” Meaning, that person would have to have an Idaho mortician’s license to be able to take Chad’s place. The job requires a commitment to a certain lifestyle and sacrifice.

It’s a commitment the Workmans are dedicated to and their final thought was for the community of Boundary County. We’re “really excited to be here and to be able to serve and help,” said Chad.

Chad will also be serving as deputy coroner, another condition of the purchase of the business, assisting Mellet who will continue as the county coroner.

Information: Bonners Ferry Funeral Home, 6485 Harrison St., or 208-267-2146