Walking Proudly With The Honans

Tom Carey’s family moved to Newtown around 1950.

Pat’s family — the Honans — have been there since the 1800s.

Tom and Pat Carey, 35 years ago in Newtown.

Tom and Pat Carey, 35 years ago in Newtown.

Tom and Pat were married 35 years ago in Newtown’s small St. Rose of Lima Church.

The Careys have lived in Westport for many years. They raised their 3 children here. But their hearts still beat strongly for their hometown.

The Honan Funeral Home was founded in 1903 by Pat’s grandfather. It’s been in the family ever since.

It’s the only funeral home in Newtown. This week, Dan Honan — Pat’s brother — is handling 11 funerals. Many of the services are the most horrible kind: children’s.

Neil Callanan — Pat’s nephew, and Brian, Mike and Meaghan Carey’s cousin — posted the story below on his blog. It provides one more intimate, heartbreaking look into an international — but now very local — tragedy.

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My mother and her many (7) siblings were raised by my grandparents on Main Street in Newtown, CT.

Just down the street from the town general store and the picturesque flag pole you’ve seen on the news. The home is not unlike other homes on the street, and probably not all that unlike grandparents’ homes around the country. What distinguishes our family home is not that it is next door to the family business at 58 Main, but that our family business happens to be the Honan Funeral Home. The sole funeral home in Newtown, CT.

The Honan  Funeral Home.

The Honan Funeral Home.

Founded in 1903 by my great-grandfather, William Sr. and taken over by my grandfather William Jr. in 1966, the business has been run by my uncle Daniel since his passing. The Honan Funeral Home has been a big part of our family for more than a century. The uniqueness of it was a part our our lives in both bigger, and smaller ways than you might expect. The famously casual nature in which my grandfather could discuss his work was seemingly balanced by the heaviness of being part of a family who handle their own calling hours and funeral services when a family member left us.

My grandfather’s (and now my uncle’s) day-to-day was very different from you or I. The topics of his consultations and mine could not be more distinct. But in ways I’ve been thinking about more and more over the last few days the way my grandfather ran things serves as a model for who and what I’d like to be in many ways and especially in business.

My uncle is faced with a work week that is unimaginable, but he’ll look to all those years working side-by-side with my grandfather to help guide him through serving those who have just experienced unknowable tragedy.

He’ll be a familiar face to those in need; because just like my grandfather, Dan is incredibly active in the Newtown community.

He’ll both give and receive support from the St. Rose of Lima Church community; because like my grandfather, he is active in his church community during both good and bad times.

He’ll rely on his colleagues from around the state to help provide the support and service the many families in need that would otherwise be impossible with a staff of just 2; because like my grandfather, he understands the value of relationships within his industry.

Young boys enter the Honan Funeral Home yesterday, for the funeral of 6-year-old Jack Pinto..

Young boys enter the Honan Funeral Home yesterday, for the funeral of 6-year-old Jack Pinto..

And when he is able to walk those families through the unbearable experience they’ll face this week with confidence and compassion, he’ll being doing his job; because like my grandfather learned from his father, Dan knows that it is his job to use the 100+ years of experience passed down to him to make things a bit less awful for those who’ve lost so much.

And by attempting to do just that, he makes our whole family proud to be Honans from Newtown.

2 responses to “Walking Proudly With The Honans

  1. Thanks, Dan.

    This has been a trying time for our family but we have come together and we are proud that our uncle is helping to ease the unimaginable pain of people in his community. And I am proud to see Westport reach out to our neighbors.

  2. I grew up in a small town in the Hudson Valley of NY, and we are fortunate to have a family like the Honans in the town next door. It’s not one of those things we like to think about, but when you’ve lost a loved one the value of a funeral home like the Honans’ (or in my case, the Copeland Funeral Home in New Paltz) is immeasurable; they are truly doing the Lord’s work. I am feeling a small measure of comfort to know that the families of Newtown are in such kind and compassionate hands.