Jamin Mohler is well versed in all areas of the funeral home business.
From embalming to cremation to working with bereaved families, the owner of Brookside Funeral Home in Moxee has done — and seen — it all.
In fact, Mohler has seen enough of what goes on behind the scenes in the industry that he and his wife, Kara, made a commitment to running their business differently.
“We’re a family-owned, community-based funeral home, and our No. 1 priority is our neighbors, not stockholders,” said Mohler, 36, an Ellensburg native who bought the business from Dick Knautz and Janet Roy in May.
The couple hired Mohler in 2014 with the idea that he might take over when they retired.
After living in Moxee for the past four years, the family feels at home. And the community has paid them back with their loyalty.
“To us, it’s all about taking care of families,” Mohler said. “I’m not saying the other places don’t; we’re all good folks. But we have a different philosophy here. We know we’re going to see our families in the grocery store and at church, and we genuinely want what’s best for them.”
Mohler started his career in Gresham, Ore., before joining Brookside as a funeral director.
Knautz and Roy started Affordable Funeral Care in Ellensburg in 2001 and expanded to Moxee in 2010. Around the time Mohler came on board, they changed the name of both businesses to Brookside Funeral Home.
Mohler brought with him an extensive background in funeral care, graduating from mortuary school at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
He also worked for some larger funeral homes in Oregon, which allowed him to help the growing Moxee business transition from being a budget option to one of the best funeral homes in the Yakima Valley.
“We have a very strong reputation in the community, and that all started with Dick and Janet,” said Mohler, who was recently named to the Washington State Funeral Directors Association board.
“We’re the busiest funeral home in the Valley by a long shot. Word has gotten out about how we do things here, and now we’re the leading funeral home in Yakima and Kittitas counties.”
Aside from trying to keep their prices affordable, Brookside also offers services that other local funeral homes do not.
A large garden area features a gazebo and a small waterfall, while a shelter makes it possible to host outdoor services. Dozens more chairs have been added in the chapel and the inside overflow area has been expanded.
But what truly sets Brookside apart, Mohler says, is the on-site crematory.
“We don’t need to go through a third party,” he said, “and folks appreciate knowing that their loved ones will stay at Brookside until they are cremated.”
Improving People’s Lives
The Mohlers’ approach to community comes very much from the heart.
Their faith has compelled them to open their hearts to everyone, not just the families they serve at Brookside.
As a way of spreading their love, the couple spent six weeks in Uganda in 2013, going through a legal guardianship program to adopt three siblings, Maizie (now 9), Haddy (8) and Judah (6).
“The decision to adopt was faith-based,” said Mohler, who attends Sun Valley Church in Yakima. “We brought them here to be raised in a Christian home.”
The Mohlers also have three children of their own — Mahala (16), Abi (12) and Jaron (11) — so the family home can feel a little busy at times.
But the satisfaction of knowing how much they’ve improved the lives of three orphans makes everything else secondary.
“We weren’t trying to be humanitarians,” Mohler said. “Our goal wasn’t to make the world a better place. We saw that there were these three kids out there who had nowhere else to go. Their father died and their mother brought them to the orphanage. Now they have us.”
Due to the sporadic nature of international adoption, American families are not currently allowed to adopt children from Uganda.
The Mohlers are grateful that they were given the opportunity while it was available.
“The kids are definitely thankful to be out of the situation they were in,” Mohler said. “But we’re also thankful to have them.”
Putting family first has always served the Mohlers well. Now that they have been able to apply that philosophy in business, they are reaping the rewards.
“We try to serve as Jesus would serve,” Mohler said. “But at the same time, we are here for everyone. We serve all faiths and no faiths, and everyone in between.”
Brookside Funeral Home is at 500 W. Prospect Road in Moxee. Visit brooksidefhc.com or call 457-1232.