Aaron Cain and Curt Demrow know they have big shoes to fill.
Cain and Demrow are the new owners of Bernard Funeral Home in Russell Springs, having officially taken over operations earlier this month.
When Noel Godby and Jimmy Matney, the previous owners, approached Cain and Demrow about purchasing the funeral home, a landmark in Russell County since it first opened in April 1954, Cain and Demrow were honored.
Longtime friends of Godby and Matney, the sons-in-law of the funeral home’s founder Kenneth Bernard, knew that purchasing the funeral home and assuming operation of it meant a lot based on the funeral home’s reputation within the community.
“My funeral home in Liberty, McKinney-Brown Funeral Home, and Bernard Funeral Home have had a long-standing relationship of helping one another in a time of need,” Demrow said. “Mr. Godby and Mr. Matney here at Bernard knew us and they came to us a few months back to start talks of selling. They approached us about it and we were honored that they, for a lack of a better term, hand-picked us and were great to work with to make this happen.”
“We certainly value the history of funeral service and what it means to folks,” Demrow added. “Noel and Jimmy have been here a long time, taking over after Mr. Bernard passed away and we very much value what they’ve started and at the same time, want to continue that legacy. We value the history of what we do, and want to make sure we take care of every family we’re fortunate to help.”
Since the change, Cain and Demrow said the community reception has been great.
“The people in this community have taken to us very well,” Cain said. “They’ve made us feel very welcome since the beginning.”
Cain will be relocating to Russell County with his family in the near future, and will essentially be the primary funeral director that families in the community will work with, although Demrow will be around too.
“We’re very excited about that process,” Cain said. “We’re excited to move into this community and become part of Russell County.”
As with any instance that funeral homes change ownership, Cain and Demrow said some people who made pre-arrangements have reached out asking how those will be handled.
They are reassuring everyone who has made pre-arrangements that those arrangements will be honored and no funds will change accounts.
“All arrangements previously made are going to be honored by us,” Cain said. “That isn’t going to change.”
“Money won’t change accounts,” Demrow added. “Everything will remain the same as it was when it was set up.”
Something new that is coming to the funeral home are video tributes/slideshows with photographs, as well as a new Facebook page that will be utilized.
“Other than that, everything else will basically stay the same,” Demrow said.
Part of what will remain the same is that Noel and Jimmy will still be around on a limited basis.
“They are still very much a part of us,” Cain said. “They still come in and out, check on families, and we just want people to know that they’re still here and still part of us.”
“Noel and Jimmy are always welcome here,” Demrow said. “It’s in their blood to be here, so they know that they’re welcome here every day and they are going to help us in whatever capacity we need and we’re glad to have their full support.”
Get to know the new owners
Cain is a lifelong resident of Casey County, and began working at McKinney-Brown Funeral Home in Aug. 2014. He’s been a licensed funeral director since 2016. He will have a leading role at Bernard Funeral Home. He and his wife, Jessica, have a seven-month old daughter.
Demrow has grown up around the funeral business. He’s a second-generation funeral director and has owned McKinney-Brown Funeral Home in Liberty for nearly a decade, and has been a licensed funeral director in Kentucky since 1997. Demrow also serves as the Casey County Coroner, currently in his second term. Curt is married to Jaime Demrow and the couple has three daughters.