“I like to compare us to a ‘Mom and Pop’ type of business,” says David Rousculp, general manager, funeral director and embalmer at Harper’s Community Funeral Home in New Haven. “I actually live upstairs at the funeral home and I’m here all of the time. People know they can stop by and ring the bell and I’ll come down and talk to them. Nowadays, it’s very rare to have the funeral director living at the funeral home.”
With 40 years of experience in the funeral home business, Rousculp recognizes the importance of treating each person with respect, dignity and compassion and offers them the opportunity to commemorate their loved one in a unique way.
“Harper’s has been around since at least 1872 and even though it changed locations in New Haven a couple of times over the years, this business has always been independently owned,” says Rousculp. “What’s nice for people planning a funeral with us is that they’re not passed from one person to the next. Everything is handled by myself and our office manager and pre-need consultant Chevas Hefflinger. Chevas plays a big role here and we are grateful to have her with us.”
Rousculp says transparency is vital, which is why they show all of their pricing. In March, the business began offering its goods and services via e-commerce.
“This is a really big deal,” he says. “We are one of just about five funeral homes in the country offering this. We’ve had people who live out-of-state, who couldn’t get here until the day of the service, plan the entire funeral online. We talked on the phone and emailed, too, but they were able to pick out everything online and they just loved having that option.”
Rousculp adds that while the COVID-19 pandemic has made his job more challenging, there have also been some positive outcomes he never imagined.
“As a funeral director, it’s very hard to watch people not being able to hug each other at a service. And it’s been exhausting for our staff because of all the extra sanitizing procedures we need to do at our building. We had done webcasting of services in the past, but we never really pursued it heavily. The coronavirus pushed us into it and we’ve decided it’s something we will do long after this is over. We had a family whose 96-year-old mother passed away and they were only expecting a handful of people to come to the service. We offered a video of it on our website and were shocked to learn 1,100 people had viewed it. That showed us the power and benefit of offering the video online. That means that woman’s life and her legacy were shared with hundreds of people instead of just a few.”
Harper’s serves the community through a number of philanthropy projects including Project Toy Soldier and other Christmas programs for families in need.
“We like to think outside of the box here,” says Rousculp. “We even had a group perform the play ‘Flanagan’s Wake’ here at the funeral home in March to raise money for Shepherd’s House. It was great and just another example of what makes Harper’s special.”
Owner(s): Tony and Margie Colson
General Manager: David Rousculp
Address: 740 Indiana Hwy. 930 East New Haven, Indiana 46774
Phone: (260) 493-4433