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Larrison Mortuary continues to adapt and serve Pratt and area communities

Annika Larrison
Pratt Tribune
Eric Larrison, Jarrod Bishop and Willow Navarro serve the public at Larrison Mortuary in Pratt.

At the beginning of the year Larrison Mortuary was doing well and had about the same number of deaths as previous years. Then the coronavius hit and new protocols for personal safety had to be established. 

If a death occurred at a nursing home, only one person could go to retrieve the deceased. Setting up meeting times with families became more difficult. With everyone quarantining and being six feet apart, funeral services had to change. For families who wanted a traditional service, Larrisons had to wait until the government said it was ok to have more than a certain amount of people in the building. While waiting to do the funeral, it left more grieving time and less closure for the family.

By mid-summer, the mortuary was able to do full funerals, and they asked the family if they would like them to wear a mask or if they wanted everyone to wear a mask at the funeral service.

There has never been a time like this in the history of Larrison Mortuary, which goes back to 1978. But the family-owned business has adapted to be able to continue to provide the best care and services for their clients.

“This business was started by Jerry and Karellen Larrison. They purchased William Mortuary in 1978 and started their own,” said mortuary owner Eric Larrison. “It started as a small funeral home in an old outdated building and has grown into a new modern facility and has expanded the monument sales and installation.”

Now a typical day might be as follows: Eric Larrison said he comes in at 8 a.m., answers phones, helps the people who walk in with questions or needs, handles current deaths, and  much more.

Jarrod Bishop, who is a funeral director, said his favorite tradition at Larriosn Mortuary was the Angel Tree Program. 

For those who don’t know, the Larrison Angel Tree Program is a program that the mortuary provides every year for the families of loved ones who have passed on. It’s different from the one the community has for getting gifts to families who may need the extra financial help.

Larrison’s Angel Tree Program is in December and it’s only on one morning. The mortuary provides a small service where they list off the names of loved ones who have passed on that year and have a small sermon. After the service, the families may pick a small angel off of the angel tree in the front of the chapel. Usually, after they pick their angel, they can go in the back and enjoy some homemade cookies and some punch. That may have to change this year.

Willow Navarro, funeral director and mortuary manager, said she has always felt called to help others who need care and attention during times of a death in a family.

“I decided when I was 12 years old that I wanted to be an embalmer and funeral director,” Navarro said. “A family that was very close to me had a tragedy and lost three of their family members, two of which were young children. Witnessing their experience made me want to ensure that families were taken care of and that their loved ones who passed away would get the care and attention that they needed.”