Bartholomew Funeral Home: A second home for brothers Chris and Kyle Newhard

Bartholomew Funeral Home: A second home for brothers Chris and Kyle Newhard

Brothers Chris and Kyle Newhard never imagined they’d follow in their dad’s footsteps and join the funeral industry. They’d spent most of their lives around Bartholomew Funeral Home helping out their dad and getting some work experience during their summers, but careers? 

That was something else entirely. 

However, it takes a special commitment and passion to work in the funeral industry, and you won’t find anyone more dedicated than the Newhards. 

The Newhard brothers grew up in Valparaiso and went to Valparaiso High School. Many people might mistakenly believe that growing up with a father in the funeral industry might be a little strange, but aside from a few hearse family road trips, the Newhards agree that their childhood was fairly normal. 

“It was weird sometimes,” Kyle Newhard said. “Sometimes he’d have to take somebody somewhere in the hearse, so he’d come home for lunch and be driving the hearse and we’d have a hearse parked in our driveway for a few hours. Sometimes we’d do trips--we’d ride with dad while he was taking someone somewhere else, so that was definitely interesting. One time we went to Ohio to take somebody somewhere and we just had a little family vacation. We took a couple of days and did touristy stuff after we were done with work.” 

At first, the Newhard brothers were determined to choose a different path than their father. Chris went to Valparaiso University to study History, and Kyle went to Ball State University to study Business Administration. However, life had other plans. 

“Both of us grew up thinking that we didn’t want to do what Dad did, so we went on to do our own different, individual things, but then after we both graduated from college dad was like 'do you guys want to come work with us'. I was like, sure it’s a job, and then it just kind of stuck from there,'” said Kyle Newhard.

The Newhard brothers have been at Bartholomew’s ever since, and couldn’t be happier. The brothers mostly do a lot of behind-the-scenes work at the funeral home. Kyle is the Office Manager and Chris handles the accounts. 

“One of the first things people ask us all the time is 'doesn't it bother you working at a funeral home, or doesn’t it creep you out?' I guess for us we grew up around this. We’d get picked up from school and Dad would still have a couple of hours of work left, so he’d bring us back to work with him or we’d help out during the summers with different things. Growing up with it, it was never something out of the ordinary,” said Kyle Newhard. 

Both of the brothers agree that aside from getting to work with each other, one of the best parts of working in the funeral industry is making a difference in someone’s life and helping them. 

“It’s really fulfilling when you see families grieving and you're able to help them through that process. That's the main reason that we're here--to help the families get through this and help them take care of their loved ones. It's a really fulfilling process for everybody involved, especially after the fact a lot of times somebody will stop back by to say thank you or send us a thank you card in the mail. That always feels good when we’re able to help them get through something,” said Kyle Newhard. 

Of course, the funeral industry is no different than any other job-sometimes there are challenges the brothers have to face.

“You can't control the time of death of somebody and you can't control what happens. You might get called at two in the morning to go do something, or you might have plans for later in the week and something comes up and you have to help out a family. You have to put your own time on hold to help out with others, and that’s just part of it,” said Chris Newhard.

However, despite the challenges, the brothers love their work and enjoy making people’s lives a little brighter during their time of need. They couldn’t imagine things being any other way. 

“We pride ourselves on taking care of you from the moment your loved one passes away until you tell us that we don’t need you anymore. 

Our work’s not done after the funeral-we’re here for you after everything as well,” said Chris Newhard. 

It’s easy to say that the Newhard's don’t just have careers in the funeral industry. They have passion, they have hearts, and they have a family. 

“We're proud of what we do. The two of us and Dad may be the three actual family members that work here, but everybody that works here is like a big family. We take care of each other. We help each other out when we can, and that's kind of how it's always been. They're like an extended family for us,” said Kyle Newhard. 

Both brothers are extremely grateful to their dad for raising them the way he did and giving them such a wonderful opportunity. They couldn’t have been where they are today without him. 

“I want to thank Dad for introducing us to this line of work and the industry. I think we're both proud of him too because it's not an easy job to run two funeral homes and take care of his family, so we're really thankful and proud of him,” said Chris Newhard. 

Overall, being raised around the funeral industry may seem incredibly strange to most people, but for Chris and Kyle Newhard, it may be one of the best things that ever happened to them. 

“A lot of people wouldn’t consider a funeral home to be a normal place to grow up, but I'm happy that we did,” said Kyle Newhard.

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