Michael King never intended to be a funeral director.
Indeed, he was working as a civil servant in London when he and his wife, Louise, went searching for accommodation.
The place they found was above a funeral home – and part of the arrangement was that they would answer the funeral company’s phone out of normal business hours.
One thing led to another and Michael soon was a qualified funeral director. It was natural, then, that Michael would return to Geelong and help his father, Max King, build the Kings Funeral Business.
“Always look for different ways to improve – different things you can do to help people.”— Michael King
The rest is history and, under Michael’s stewardship, the history of Kings Funerals has been one of innovation, success and building on solid values.
“By treating families the way you want to be treated, you can put people onto a healthy pathway,” says Michael. “That enables them to grieve in a healthy manner.”
Michael has always been active in the community, supporting numerous groups with time and funding.
“Being involved in the community is an extension of our work. It’s just helping out in a different way,” he says.
Director, Louise King Funerals
“I fell in love with the son of a funeral director,” says Louise King. “He was never going to be a funeral director and I was going to be a nurse.”
But life had other plans for Louise King – and today, Louise heads the only all-female funeral service in Geelong. She finds that her nursing experience has given her invaluable knowledge in fulfilling her role.
“All I can do is just be who I am,” Louise says. “All my nursing training and counselling training helped my ability to understand of the stages of bereavement.”
“It’s amazing what you see – the strength of the human spirit and how people step up.” — Louise King
Highly regarded in the funeral industry and qualified in nursing, counselling bereavement and mortuary science, Louise and her team have provided outstanding service to the people of Geelong and surrounding area since 1995.
“I’m not afraid to get upset,” she says. “If I thought I needed to have a barrier and just be emotionless, I wouldn’t be able to do the job.”
“You just want to make it as beautiful as you can. If you’ve eased someone’s grief – that’s a pretty good feeling.”
For Beth King, being involved with funerals has always been part of life.
“My grandparents’ home was above our funeral chapel in Geelong,” Beth recalls. “I used to type up funeral notices for Dad when I was about seven – go into the office with him on the weekend, type the notices and fax them to the newspaper.”
“I really appreciate the generations of my family. It’s my reputation but also my family’s I work to uphold.” — Beth King
It’s not surprising then, that Beth understands the benefits a funeral can bring to a family.
“What’s most important to us is that the family feels that they’ve marked the loss of a person in a way that’s meaningful to them – when they look back, they think, ‘Yes, we did the right thing.”
Like her parents and grandparents before her, Beth is enthusiastically involved in the community.
Life today, however, is focused on serving the people of Geelong and their needs in one of life’s most difficult times.
“Grief isn’t just about crying,” Beth says. “It’s also about smiling and remembering. Yes, there’s the sadness of the event but also the happiness of the memories – the gratitude for what the departed brought into people’s lives.”
Tricia Van Grondelle
Funeral Director, Louise King Funerals
“We’re just normal people trying to do a good job,” says Tricia.
Normal? Given that emotion is a normal human condition that may well be true. But ‘exceptional’ is a more accurate description of the skill and dedication Tricia Van Grondelle brings to her role in Louise King Funerals by Women.
To Tricia, professionalism is paramount because it’s so important to the people in her care.
“I have to be professional because I have an important role,” she says. “That’s the trust a family puts in me – to give everyone a nice farewell and a good funeral.”
“My role is to enable families to look back and say ‘That was good. That was everything we wanted’.” — Tricia Van Grondelle
Tricia believes that Louise King’s all-female funeral service can be the ideal answer for many families.
“I know my dad would have loved to have women arranging his funeral,” she says.
Like everyone at Kings Funerals, Tricia knows the value of simply doing the job well.
“It’s about showing care and empathy,” she says, “and giving people the knowledge that we not only want to help but we know how to help.”
Prepaid Funerals Consultant
Julie Spriggs is a great listener – which is why she’s so good at fulfilling her role at Kings Funerals.
Julie is the person to see to arrange for a pre-paid or preplanned funeral. Her ability to listen and to note what’s important and special to you is what will make the celebration of your life uniquely you.
“I want to make every funeral individual,” she says. “What song needs to played, what football anthem needs to be played, what golf set needs to be set on the side of the coffin – whatever your interest is, that’s what I want to capture.”
“I love to hear people’s stories; I love to hear what people want – and what the family needs.” — Julie Spriggs
Julie also knows the value of ‘going the extra mile’ for the people she helps.
“It may be more time-consuming for Kings to do it our way, but I think it’s better because you become part of the healing process,” she says.
In that process, Julie’s role is vital.
“If I can find out what makes your life unique, I’ve done my job. If you’ve taken the time to pre-arrange, we make sure your story is told the way you want it to be told.”