Classification Talk

Posted by Ashley Rushnell on Apr 09, 2018
Connie Reid introduced Ashley Rushnell, a 3rd generation funeral director in her family business, following in her father and grandfather's footsteps from a young age.  Ashley has been involved in many community organizations, including Wheelchair of Hope, Belleville and Trenton Chambers, Dancing with the Stars as well as hospital work.
 
Ashley thanked the members of the Rotary Club for their warm welcome to her as a new Rotarian.  She is enjoying the fellowship and getting to know everyone.  Her grandfather started the business, knowing early in life that he wanted to provide a dignified service to family who had suffered a loss and to help them honour a life.  He was mentored by Jack and Sally Bush and opened his own funeral home in Trenton in 1961.  Bush Funeral Home was the first in Ontario to operate their own crematorium when the law changed in 2012 to allow them to do that.  Up until then, only cemeteries could have crematoriums.  Growing up, Ashley was exposed to the funeral business, driven to school by her father in a number of different vehicles, limousines, hearses, stopping at the cemetery to check on a grave.  She realized that her dad's career was different from others.  Ashley's grandmother passed away in 2002 when Ashley was 9 and she was heartbroken, but she noticed the care and special attention that her father and grandfather gave in celebration of her life, all the details and she understood how important it was to family members.
 
Ashley applied to Humber College for training as a funeral director, she was the youngest in the class at 17.  Her teachers felt she was too sensitive for this field of work and as a 3rd generation, should consider another career path.  Ashley stuck with it and graduated in 2013 and obtained her funeral director license.  After working full-time for a few years, she wanted to travel and see how the funeral industry operated in other countries.  She applied on-line for a job across the world in Australia.  She stayed for a year, made many friends and experienced the culture of more European-style funerals.  But missed home.  She considered herself fortunate to be able to spend time with her grandfather before he passed away in November 2017, listening to his stories and realizing home was where she was meant to be, in the family business, taught to her by her father and grandfather.  Ashley tries to follow the advice of her grandfather to meet three people every day and get to know their stories, not to lose sight that everything she does comes down to people.  Her greatest pride is being able to carry on her grandfather's legacy.
 
Ashley was thanked by Karen Baker who personally acknowledged the services and attention she and her family received and how much it was appreciated.  Ashley was presented with her blue badge and Rotary pin.