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N.H. Families Move Ahead With In-Person Funerals As More People Get Vaccinated

A rose rests on a wooden casket.
Donlon Funeral Home
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As the pandemic lightens its grip on daily life, funeral homes across New Hampshire are holding services that families had put off during the pandemic. 

“We had a family that held off for a year, with a family reunion. This is their first chance to kind of get together,” Katie Roan says. Roan is a funeral director and owner of Roan Family Funeral Homes, which has locations in Epsom and Pembroke.

While Roan says some families still opt for small, or partially virtual services, she’s mostly noticed that families want to be together, in person. 

Buddy Phaneuf, president of Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium, says at one point, the business had nearly 100 delayed services across six locations in New Hampshire and Vermont. “It’s been an extremely busy three to four months as the weather has been getting nicer,” he says. ”We’re seeing the tail end of the backlog of delayed services.” 

But not every service is moving ahead, Phaneuf noted. Families with members living in Canada are still limited, as the country just relaxed some border restrictions this week.