At Busch, we stand behind providing genuine, inspired and personalized care to the families we serve.
In our 100+ years serving Northeast Ohio, we’ve built our updated facilities, modern amenities and services based on family values, convenience and detail. And we wouldn’t be able to do it without our expertly trained embalming staff:
Lead embalmers: Kent Berkheimer and Elizabeth Mencke
Embalmers: Paula Harris-Holland and Randy Van Hove
Hairdresser: Meredith Paulus
Each of these individuals exercise their creativity and artistic ability to bring the best possible service to our families during a difficult time. How do they do it? We’re glad you asked!
Continue reading to learn more about our embalming staff through a Q&A, and better understand how their roles operate.
Q: What does your day-to-day look like as an embalming staff member?
Care center manager Dana Ivins shares that no two days are the same when you work in a position like this.
Embalmers at Busch start their day by discussing any new families that have called for assistance and what needs done for them: embalming and/or cosmetology (e.g. hair, cosmetics, clothes, etc.). Even if service times are not set in stone yet, the funeral director usually knows whether a guest is to be embalmed or be prepared for cremation.
In the event of an embalming, staff members conduct a pre-embalming analysis to ensure the most preservation takes place.
On average, the embalming process usually takes between one and three hours—this can be done long before a service takes place. As the service date approaches, staff members dress the guest in clothes provided by the family, and work on getting their look just right.
Elizabeth Mencke explains, “Depending on the situation, the embalming process can become much more extensive and require the use of wax, airbrushes and specialty mortuary cosmetics.” She mentions the goal is to use as little cosmetic products as possible.
At Busch, we invite families in ahead of time for a private viewing to ensure the appearance of their loved one is just right.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a part of Busch’s embalming staff?
“We are very blessed to work with an amazing team of coworkers who all pitch in to help with whatever is needed.” —Dana Ivins
The staff describe their department as individuals who rise above any challenges to provide a memorable experience to those they serve. The embalming staff understand they have a direct impact on surviving family members and are grateful to support them during one of the most difficult life experiences.
Q: What's something not many people know about your role at Busch?
Many outsiders would be surprised at the amount of effort put in on small details in such a short time frame. For example, an event planner may have months to go over details for the big day, but the embalming staff often only has 24 to 48 hours to ensure final wishes from the family are met.
To make the process run a lot smoother and to receive the best possible outcome, the embalming staff recommends bringing in photos as recent as possible, so they can present your loved one just as surviving family members remember them. Photos that showcase how they wore their hair or how they did their makeup help embalmers model their work based on your lost loved one’s preferences.
“It is very rewarding when we are able to correctly handle all the little things that make your loved one so unique to your family,” Dana said.
Q: When do you feel most empowered at your job?
Elizabeth feels most empowered when a family first opts for a closed casket, and she is able to change their minds because their loved one looks so much better than the last time they saw them.
It’s rewarding for the embalming staff to witness families gain closure once they see their loved one for a last time and say their final goodbyes. To hear that families appreciate and offer praise for the quality of our work makes coming back the next day worth it.
Q: In your own words, what is the Busch difference?
“The Busch difference is our staff,” Dana said. “Each one of our staff has chosen this profession because we want to make an impact on the families we serve.”
Through strong attention to every detail, the Busch embalming staff strives to provide a celebration to honor the life lived—and offers endless options to do so.
“It’s our goal to never say ‘no’ to a family.” —Kent Berkheimer
This team makes accommodations as needed for the families they serve and strive to do their best work possible every time.
Your Personal Guide to Final Arrangements
Following the loss of a loved one, there are upwards of 125 decisions to be made—and our care center staff can help you fulfill a number of them. But first, download our funeral planning checklist to ensure you have all other service elements covered.
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.