By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — Rumors have been swirling for months, that Richard and Kim Owen, owners of Owen Family Funeral Home in Syracuse and North Webster are retiring.
Owen is not retiring, although he may cut his hours back a bit as he has sold both funeral homes and the crematory to Cory Benz, owner of Titus Funeral Home in Warsaw. Owen will be staying on as funeral director, managing both the Syracuse and North Webster funeral homes.
“I’m still doing what I love to do, taking care of families,” Owen said. He’s been a funeral director for 37 years and plans to continue.
Owen and Benz have been working together as small business owners for the last few years. Benz made the offer to buy Owen out “When he was ready,” Benz said. “I think we make an excellent team,” Owen said. “I chose Cory because we’re like-minded . He’s going to take care of families. He’s local. He’s not a big corporate investor,” Owen explained.
Both share a common history. Owen worked at the same funeral home Benz trained at, just at a different time.
The staff at Owen’s have been offered their current positions, and while some may be cutting their hours back and other increasing them, all of them are staying on. “So you’ll see all the familiar faces,” Benz said.
Those coming to Owen Family Funeral Home in Syracuse or North Webster may see some of the Titus staff, but the Owen name will remain on the door and the phone number will remain the same.
“I think the crematory is important,” Benz said. “It’s the only crematory in the county,” Benz said. “That’s important. Your loved one never leaves our care,” Owen said. Both men are certified crematory operators.
Titus started in Warsaw in 1956 and can track its roots back to 1937. Owen opened the Syracuse funeral home in 2005 after starting in the business in 1985. “He was already serving families for 20 years,” Benz said. “I always looked at this as a ministry for me, taking care of families,“ Owen said.
The North Webster funeral home opened in 2010 and Kosciusko County Cremation Services opened in 2015.
Letters explaining the sale of the business recently went out to those who preplanned their funerals with Owen Family Funeral Home. Both Benz and Owen stressed that those who preplanned their funerals through Owen will have their wishes honored and protected. “Those directives will be followed as they were intended,” Benz said.