Sean Chase is Regional Sales Manager for Premier Memorial, a wholesale manufacturer for funeral homes and cemeteries since 1896, and Branch Manager for Oregon Granite Monument and Memorial, the distribution center for all wholesale customers from Eugene to San Francisco. Sean has been in the industry for five years bringing with him a career in sales,
though previously for mid-life activities, such as motor homes and copiers.
Premier Memorial offers many memorial options: bronze, granite, “MonuGlass” (Tiffany glass inlaid in stone), as well as columbaria and mausolea. “Have granite, will travel!” and, “If someone
wants to put a monument on the moon, we’ll do it!”, says Sean enthusiastically. Premier
Memorial’s granite is sourced from all over the world, so where the memorial material is from depends on what someone would like; for example, blue pearl only comes from Norway. They cut and polish stones and perform all the operations and installation.
Sean says that the best part of his job is helping people with closure, in that people get to remember all that is good. He notes that with the rise of interest in ancestry research, he sees people looking to be more connected with where they came from. He believes families have
experienced more of a disconnection in the latest generations; families seemed to be closer-knit 30+ years ago. He cites an example of how families used to go to cemeteries for picnics, and while some ethnic groups still do that, you don’t see it very often today.
Sean loves his work also because he helps families build their stories and put those life stories in stone. He guides the decision-making process with families by helping them distill what symbols could be incorporated into the memorial – be it a brand for a rancher or even a business logo, because anyone who knows the people would recognize what represents
their life. He says it’s exciting because you can have fun and be creative. He says that the process can be challenging because sometimes, families come to him when they are still processing their grief. The best advice he received was from Jim Westerfield:
“Don’t take things personally, because people are
emotional. You’re the only one left to vent on. Let it
ride. Sometimes it’s difficult because no one wants to
be attached. They are hurting and lashing out, and
sometimes that’s to you, the person who is nearest.”
Having compassion is a key component of the job, something he exercises as a volunteer at the Gospel Mission. He continues by saying that it feels good knowing you’re helping people. Letters of appreciation soften any of the negative side effects. He shared the
When I first contacted your company, I was overwhelmed with grief. It was procrastination on my part, which I just didn’t want to get down to the business of ordering a headstone. It seemed so final. You had the knowledge and the compassion to put me at ease from the very beginning. You asked me questions that brought forth what I wanted…thank you.
You went to work describing my jungle of thoughts back to me in concert ideas. It takes a very special type of person to be able to do that. You listened closely to a person who was in all the stages of grief. You never once were overpowering or condescending…thank you.
After you sent the first sketch, you took my ideas and went with them. When I received the final, I truly kept it closed on my computer for a few days, didn’t have the courage to look at it.
When I opened up the email the sketch was perfect in every way. Then I got nervous about it being delivered in time for the service. I called you and you once more had to reassure me that everything would be on time. It was…thank you.
People at the memorial (over 150) could not stop remarking on what a wonderful job that was done on the headstone. They said the “Pink Panther” was a work of art; the granite color went so well with the design. I am sure that L____ smiled down on this; he had such a sense of humor. Some people did not know that he was such a strong member of AA, but there is now a lasting
stone that will let others know of his commitment…thank you.
The kindness you offered, the craftsmanship displayed will always be remembered. You have found your calling and you do make a difference for families who are in grief, by creating a lasting memorial to their loved ones…thank you.