By Maureen Werther
Some people may wonder why a person would choose mortuary science as a profession, and others might even consider it to be depressing. For Kathleen Lowes Sanvidge, being a funeral home director is the fulfilment of what she terms a God-given gift.
Lowes Sanvidge is the owner of Townley and Wheeler Funeral Home at 21 Midline Road in Ballston Lake, which she purchased four years ago after working as a funeral director in the Clifton Park area for 20 years. Owning her own business has meant being able to do the work she feels she was meant to be doing, while offering the compassionate care to her clients and their departed loved ones.
Lowes Sanvidge first became interested in the profession as a Shenendehowa senior. She had an internship at Ellis Hospital, where she met people who worked in the funeral home industry. She said she realized they were a special kind of people with whom she related on a spiritual level. After graduating from Shenendehowa, Lowes Sanvidge went on to obtain a degree in mortuary science from Hudson Valley Community College.
Over 25 years later, Lowes Sanvidge is more invested in her work than ever.
“This is not a morbid business,” she said. “Doing this work fills me with a sense of grace and purpose that I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to feel.”
Lowes Sanvidge said Townley and Wheeler differentiates itself from other “chain” businesses, which she said lack the level of personal touch that she and her staff provide.
She manages the day-to-day operations at Townley and Wheeler, treating her employees with the same level of respect and compassion she displays toward her clients.
Lowes Sanvidge’s level of compassion and sincerity have been at least partly responsible for the steady growth of her business.
“We had some early challenges when we first bought the business,” she said. “But, buying Townley & Wheeler has rejuvenated me and only increased my excitement and dedication to my work.”
Recently, Townley and Wheeler Funeral Home received its Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) certification from New York state. She is the only funeral director in the state to have earned this distinction.
“This is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s a lifestyle, but it is not a burden. I think of it as a gift. It’s how we roll,” she said.
The company website is www.townleywheelerfh.com.