GENOA – Michael G. Butala, owner and funeral director of the Slater-Butala Funeral Home, 132 W. Main St., Genoa, doesn’t consider his work as a job.
Butala, who also owns Butala Funeral Homes and Crematory, 1405 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, bought the funeral home in Genoa in 1986.
He said the people who come to him for his services are usually people he knows or knows someone in their family.
“We see people at their lowest,” Butala said. “We do what we need to do for those families to see them out and about and getting better. We’re here to help them get to that point.”
The Genoa Chamber of Commerce recognized Butala’s service Feb. 20, when they presented him with a certificate for the Slater-Butala Funeral Home’s 125 years in business.
The Slater-Butala Funeral Home’s current facility in Genoa is 12 years old, but the business itself was established in 1881. There have only been two family-owned Genoa funeral homes since the business started, Butala said.
The Sycamore funeral home also has an impressive history. It was established in 1893 and has been owned by only three families over that time, Butala said.
Butala hopes his son, Michael J. Butala, will take over the family business. The 25-year-old is attending mortuary school and will start an internship with his father after he finishes school in August or September, Butala said.
Butala said he was the first to provide crematory services in DeKalb County. He said he tries to be there for the families he helps 24/7, meeting personally with them throughout the funeral process.
He said funeral directors and the clergy are trusted by families more than judges and lawyers.
That’s part of the reason why Butala tries to always be there for the families.
“When death occurs, they’re at a pretty low part in their lives,” Butala said. “As a result, we help them.
“There’s satisfaction there. You did what you needed to do to help that family.”
Butala said the Slater-Butala Funeral Home provides all the amenities associated with having a funeral or memorial service, including obtaining information for certificates and obituaries.
He said there’s still a lot of time left before he can pass the torch to his son to take over the funeral home business.
“From a guy’s standpoint, I’d like to see ‘Butala and Son,’ but he’s young,” Butala said. “He’s got to walk before he can run.”