Funeral Home and Families Facing Unfortunate Toll of COVID-19 Pandemic

Boice Funeral Home is located on the corner of Third and Pollasky and is one of the oldest businesses in Clovis. (Courtesy of Boice Funeral Home)

It’s no secret that essential businesses have taken a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many have suffered immense financial loss, workers have been let go and many local businesses have even had to shut down.

But what may often go overlooked is the toll that the pandemic has taken on essential businesses as well.

Boice Funeral Home located on Pollasky avenues has suffered more than its fair share of hardships.

The funeral home has had to cut down many of the services it offers.

Manager Lyndel James says that Boice has had to completely cut out its chaplain and church services, leaving families with limited time and opportunity to say their final goodbyes to their loved ones.

When it comes to actually deciding what to do with the deceased party’s body, many have opted to go with the less intimate option.

“Quite a few others are going in that direction where they may have wanted to have a memorial service at one time but now are just opting for cremation because of the limitations that are put upon us and them,” says James.

And around 55 to 60 percent of families are electing to have a direct burial compared to 30 percent before the pandemic.

Others are opting to simply have a graveside service, but even then no more than 10 are allowed by the cemetery to attend at a time while others would have to wait in their cars.

“It has definitely affected the way we do things,” James says.

The funeral home has had to conduct many of its funeral arrangements remotely, and James says that he has noticed that has taken an emotional toll on loved ones.

“It’s trying to do everything and keep things on a personal, one-on-one basis. That’s the nature of our service and we can’t do that because just within the last week I have only been able to allow two people into an arrangement office. We do everything that we can electronically,” James says.

However, James also says that the funeral home offers the option of allowing families to have a memorial service in the future when things get back to normal, whenever that may be.

James says that he can’t wait for that day to come.

“We have six signs on our front door about what we can and can’t do,” James says. “You must wear a mask. You must do all kinds of things and I’ll be glad when we can take those signs down.”

Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.