Those in Roane County looking for a funeral home to aid with the interment of a passed loved one may want to consider the Family owned and operated Fraker Funeral home, located at 1445 Kingston Hwy in Kingston. Founded in 2011, Rebecca Fraker owns the business with her husband, Ernie, and assisted by their two daughters Sunshine and Phyllis.
“My husband and I were both born and raised in Anderson County, and that’s where I first became involved in the funeral industry,” said Fraker. “I worked for two different funeral homes for around 20 years and received my degree from John A Gupton University in Nashville to become a licensed funeral director. After about 20 years I guess it was, I took a funeral director insurance agent position at a funeral home in Oliver Springs and I guess that’s where we first fell in love with the people of Roane County. And we decided we wanted to make our home in Roane County.”
Fraker said the beginnings of her family’s business was met with some initial difficulty.
“We have thought a lot about opening a funeral home in Roane County, just to give people another choice,” she said. “So we begin looking for a place in Kingston, we noticed the former medical facility there and we started inquiring about it and once I found out who owned it we set up a time to go view it. A lot of people, if they had walked into it, wouldn’t have seen the vision that we had seen. It had been left closed up for over 2 years. Gravel parking lot, plexiglass doors where we now have our chapel, the light fixtures were hanging down with wires by nails, and medical equipment was in every office.”
Fraker’s husband and former electrical contractor, Ernie Fraker, was optimistic the facility could be repaired and renovated. Fraker said she and her family burned the midnight oil to get the building into shape.
Since opening, Fraker Funeral Home holds events in recognition of prior clients.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve served over a thousand families. The people of Roane County and surrounding counties have just been super to us, they’ve treated us like family like we’ve tried to treat them,” she said. “We always have an annual outdoor event for our families where we have a meal catered and we recognize every family that we’ve served here in the year. We just have a good day together outside of mourning.”
It was at one of these events that the funeral home had unveiled their plans for expansion, but were held up due to the COVID pandemic.
“We had presented our plan in front of the group and then COVID hit,” she said. “We were going to build a brand new funeral home facility down where our gazebo now sits, and we still have plans to do that. But if we had built it then, back when COVID hit, people got to where they didn’t have indoor funerals anymore. They started doing grave site only, or doing cremation, and things changed tremendously. I’m thankful that we did wait, because if we hadn’t we would have had an empty building sitting there.”
Fraker said that building the new site is a high priority now considering how much the business has grown over the years. According to her, Fraker tries to build a personal connection with clients, and this is what distinguishes Fraker funeral home from its competitors.
“We try to treat people the way we would want to be treated if it was our family that was needing to be served,” she said. “We try to take into consideration each family that walks through that door. No two families are alike, no two deaths are the same, and each family grieves differently than what another one may. It’s not going to be just a number for us, and I think that’s what’s sad in a lot of places. It’s gotten to be all about the number, All about the dollar, and it’s all about what you can do for yourself and not for the people that you are serving. To us, we look at it as a ministry.”
Franker said that she has experience working in both family operated and corporate owned funeral homes, and said that she wouldn’t trade for a corporate funeral home any day of the week.
“I’ve always said that if we get to the point that we don’t care about people, then we need to get out of the business.” she said.