Grey’s Funeral Service started in 1961 when Edward J.Grey (Snr), Eddie as he was better known, purchased a premises at 32/34 Patrick Street, Templemore, to Cary on the Family business of retail clothing, which the Grey family had carried out for well over 100 Years in Templemore.
The previous owners the Maher family had run a general store, which included, Builders providers, Grocery, Hackney Services and of course a Funeral or Undertaking Service as it was then known. When Eddie started trading, He realised that the Maher Family had left a hearse and some coffins in the extensive Yard, behind the Shop. So He and His Brother Sean decided to carry on the Funeral Business as a hobby. They carried out there first Funeral Service in October 1961, and the business grew from there.
Eddie was very well known, and respected as a level and calm Man, with an outstanding respect for everyone, He carried out the Funeral Service with great affection, dignity and a regard for other people’s feelings, while at the same time, He was well known for His attention to detail, which included Time keeping, and His regard towards both the Bereaved and the Deceased, never went unnoticed. He introduced many new ideas to the Funeral Business in Templemore and surrounding areas, He had an utmost respect for tradition, and a regard for change.
In June 1978, Eddie brought in His Friend Thomas Murphy, a local publican, who was and is held in great esteem, by the local community. To-Gether they formed a great team, carrying out Funeral Services to the highest standards, knowing each others moves, without having to check to see what the other is doing, they carried out each step of the Funeral
Service to Perfection. They also formed a life long friendship and utmost respect for each other, which showed in the way they performed there Funeral Service.
Eddie’s battle with cancer ended in January 1992, when the running of the business passed on to Myself Edward J.Grey (Jnr), Eamonn as I’m better known , and say Eamonn is the Irish for Edward. I had worked for over 11 Years in the retail menswear, and had a little knowledge of the Funeral Business, Working at Funeral’s whenever My Dad called, some of My Childhood Memories include playing in the coffins with My Friends, and going one Sunday with My dad to cork, to bring a Funeral Home. However no need to fear, Tom Murphy was on hand to teach Me the in’s and out’s, and like My Dad before Me, I’m proud to say I Have formed a very strong friendship with Tom, I think in a way, he took My Dad’s place,(My Dad would have liked that) and together We have kept the dream alive. Tom’s brother Mel joined the team, and between Us, We had enough Man power, to keep the show on the road, of course with help from Sean and Martin Grey, always available.
A New hearse was purchased later in 1992, a Ford Granada, to give a new look to the business, and I started studying Embalming the same Year. A Brand new Embalming Facility was built finishing in January 1993,after studying Embalming, I later studied Hairdressing in Skolar’s hairdressing College, achieving a Diploma in Hairstyling, and Cosmetology in Meridith’s College, London, achieving a Diploma in professional Cosmetology, and finished with a Master’s Degree in Restorative Art, In the International College of Mortuary Science, Liege, Belgium. Everyone in Grey’s agrees the presentation of the Deceased is utmost important in any Funeral Service, as a beautiful casket, Hearse, Funeral Home or spray of flowers, will not camouflage a poorly presented Deceased. A testimony to this was the doubling of the Funeral Service’s carried out by Grey’s in 1994, a trend which has continued to this day. Another event more important to Me, was the embalming of 100% of the Deceased achieved in 1994, a target I thought would take the longest to achieve.
1994 also saw the introduction of a limousine, which was another area Myself and Tom hoped would add to Our Funeral Service, and it did. Even though it was not common to have a limousine in Templemore, the introduction of such a service was very well received and saw the necessity of purchasing a second limousine, this time a six door, in 1997, which allowed Us to paint the first one cream and follow a contract for weddings, from the Templemore arms, and keep the six door for Funerals, which is far more appropriate for Funerals, as We don’t have to fold over seats in order to get the family out, explains Mel Murphy, Grey’s most experienced Driver.
1995 saw the development of a brand new 10,000.00 display room, for coffins and caskets, this was very necessary as this is usually the Family’s second impression of how You carry out Your Funeral Service, if Your display area is untidy and ill managed, then the family will presume You are ill managed and haphazard in Your approach. However if each Coffin and casket is clearly labeled and Priced, and You offer the family an estimate of the Funeral Cost depending on the coffin or casket they select, then they are in the driving seat, and cannot complain about the cost of the Funeral, as You explained to them before hand what the total expense will be. Tom goes on to explain the necessity of having coffins clearly priced, in a brightly lit, and easy access area. Like everything else, it’s down to presentation.
A lowering Device displayed at one of the IAFD meetings caught Myself and Tom’s eye, and We purchased one in 1995. This is not used on all Funerals, however the People of Templemore have warmed to the dignity of having there loved one lowered for the last time, with panache, as I often put it. The device is set up surrounding the grave with green drapes, and leaves the coffin standing about two foot over the grave, which gives Us another chance to display the coffin or casket, usually the most expensive item the Family have purchased, Says Sean Grey. This is a beautiful and dignified method of lowering a coffin into a grave , the weight of the coffin makes the side bars turn, which release the straps, allowing the coffin to be lowered, slowly into the grave. There are also many advantages to this system, if there were trouble with a grave, it would have great coverage, to conceal a badly prepared grave, or one that had slipped that morning, giving no time for repair, before the committal.
1995 also saw the start of the biggest project yet, the New Funeral Home, having purchased a large site consisting of one and three quarter’s of an acre, I submitted My plans, and through careful planning and consultation with the new neighbors prior to any submission, and keeping My Fingers crossed, permission came through on the 21st of January 1996. The 9th of November that Year saw the first removal from Grey’s Funeral Home. A moment I will never forget, as it had taken two Years of planning, rooting, fighting with Bank managers, and allot of hands on effort to achieve. I set My sights a little high, however I got there.
We used to rent a Funeral Home in Templemore called St. Anne’s, which was built by a developer as part of an investment plan, however when I looked at Funeral Home’s around the Country, I envied the display and layout, and felt the need to have My Own Funeral Home, which I had full say in what happens and when, and to which I could design the interior to be bright and warm, as opposed to cold and dark, the traditional image conjured up when imagining a Funeral Home environment, I retained some religious theme, which I felt was important, but which wouldn’t take a large effort to remove, as I read from the American Funeral Home’s, the Religious theme is being removed from there Funeral Home’s, as they feel this is up to the Church’s to provide, however I feel the religious theme is nice, I like the bright colors and Air Conditioning and refreshment area, and if some one was to copy this Funeral Home to-morrow, they would change it to suit themselves, which is only natural. I have put in specialist lighting to present the Deceased and highlight the coffin area and soft music playing in the background. Most of these things were new to this area, including the coffin being placed at the top of the Funeral Home, however if You don’t follow You Own ideals, no One else will do it for You.
This is not the ultimate Funeral Home, to anyone, except Me and I’m very proud of it.
The Funeral Home has parking for over 100 cars, and is just a two minute walk from the Catholic Church, and 4 minute walk from the Church of Ireland. I believe this to be My ultimate goal, however I’m sure as time goes by, I will feel the need to further Our Service, and I only hope Myself and Tom will be as open minded as We have up to now in embracing change, while respecting tradition.
The Year 2004, brought more changes. I decided to sell the original main Premises, which included a Men’s Wear Shop, I had leased for the previous Year and extend the Funeral Home and include living accommodation. I drew My plans, put My plans in for Planning permission and put the Shop up for sale. I sold the Shop within a few Months and received My Planning permission. I had also sold the Limousine Business as this would require a larger garage, and despite the Limousines doing a thriving business they weren’t used that much with Funerals, in there place I purchased a new Mercedes Hearse. I moved into My new three bed roomed apartment and Funeral Home the second week in December 2004. I had dreamed of putting such an extension to the Funeral Home for some time, I drew My plans over and over again, eventually deciding on the design I have now. Which after living and working it for 4 Years now, is a dream come true, I wouldn’t change a thing. The design worked out great and the facility is exceptionally easy to work. I got a top class Embalming Theatre, second Chapel, Garage, Coffin Display Room and Office. I now feel I have the ultimate Funeral Home. However I keep an open mind, who knows what will happen next week.