By Ian Nadeau
Atlantic News, Thursday, March 21, 2002
Home, located at 24 Winnacunnet Road in Hampton, will assist their clients in any way possible during their time of need.
[Atlantic News Photo by Ian Nadeau]
HAMPTON — With the utmost compassion, dedication and attention to detail, the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home in Hampton provides peace of mind during times of mourning.
As one enters the facility, they will find a number of comforting quotes prominently displayed on the walls. One such quotation from Ivy Baker Hall reads, "the world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning." Owner Robert K. Gray feels that the hopefulness evoked by this statement is akin to the feelings evoked by his funeral home.
The Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home avails all the amenities of a new funeral home, while still providing a comforting and traditional environment. The atmosphere created by the use of soothing colors, elegant appointments, unique-to-the-area showroom and experienced guidance is truly refreshing for his clients. Families are given the respect and selection they deserve and what can seem like a monumental task is made manageable, friendly and comfortable.
Calling upon his personal and professional experience, Gray can honestly empathize with his clients during their time of need. More importantly, he knows exactly what it takes to help lift the burden during such trying times.
Three years ago, Gray took on the role of care-giver for his elderly grandfather, Joseph F. Dineen. This experience gave him a genuine understanding of the feelings and emotions he sees in his clients.
"It not only underscored my sense of duty to a man who is a tremendous part of who I am today, but it also sensitized me to the needs of my profession," he said. "I am better able to comprehend my clients' needs during these stressful periods, thanks to the quality time. I shared with my true mentor and best friend."
The Gray family has long been associated with the New Hampshire Seacoast business community. Dineen owned and operated Hampton Beach's Funarama Arcade and, although he has since passed away, the Dineen and Gray families continue to operate it in the family tradition.
A graduate of the New England Institute of Mortuary Science, Gray has 12 years of experience as a funeral director for the Farrell Funeral Home in Portsmouth. He now serves as the sole director, licensed embalmer and proprietor of his own funeral home.
The facility — which is located on 24 Winnacunnet Road — offers ample parking and a personalized attention to detail which has long been Gray's trademark. The care taken in the extensive decoration makes it extremely hard to believe a restaurant used to occupy this space.
Encompassing 5,100 square feet, the funeral parlor contains two full chapels, a casket showroom and grand reception area.
The ground-floor showroom features quarter, half and full- sized caskets as well as various designs for interior head panels and coordinating exterior end caps. The room, which is exclusive to Batesville Casket Company, has been brightly decorated and is very customer-friendly.
"This new-concept showroom is less overwhelming for the family and allows my facility to maximize space and offer greater selection," said Gray.
The facility also offers a wide range of cremation services designed to meet the needs of today's society. Clients may choose form a paper-mache container that can transport ashes out to sea, a desk memento holder or a locket to wear around their neck.
Entering the building, visitors will come face to face with a breath-taking mural containing a functional water fountain. A chapel extends off each side of this reception room.
The two chapels provide both a warm and distinguished atmosphere for the guests. When not in use, the smaller chapel, possessed of some remarkable stained glass windows, will serve as a sitting room for family members in need of retreat.
"The attempt is to bring sophistication to the establishment, all while making the surroundings soothing and inviting," said Gray.
Following a very successful open house celebration in February, Gray looks forward to becoming more involved with the community. The Hampton Rotary has been invited to hold a May meeting at the parlor; the Rye Women's Club will pay a visit on April 8; and local schools have been approached for tours and discussions. Sometime in the near future, Gray plans on repeating his very successful seminars designed to discuss pre-planning. He also welcomes walk-throughs at any time.
"I look forward to giving back to the Seacoast community that has given greatly to me," Gray concludes.
As a means to this end, Gray recently hired an apprentice to mentor. His own experiences in that role were so personally, valuable, that he feels it is his obligation to return this favor.
The Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home is a valuable resource for those experiencing periods of loss. The parlor can accommodate clients in any number areas including, but not limited to: coordination of travel, valet services, floral arrangements and post-funeral receptions. Contact them at 926-2248.