Tucked away on Russell Palmer Road, Darst Funeral Home is a new addition to Kingwood. The opening on April 10 was quiet, just as the surrounding atmosphere. John Darst, the principal owner, is proud of the future property where garden services may be held, the future larger chapel, and the meticulously converted home which provides for indoor services. With Thomas Kincaid garden prints setting a serene tone inside, the owner and his colleagues, Christine Price and Dean Winslo, excitedly speak of the vision they share, which had a hard but loving birth. “Our location was basically picked for us, as Friendswood Properties had restrictions concerning any other funeral home coming into the Kingwood area other than the one established years ago. We had to purchase property that was never held by Friendswood. That took a lot of searching,” stated Darst. “It would have been less expensive to build, but we were committed.” That commitment is shared by all three principles, and that group imperative is to personalized service. “The personal touch is most important. We believe in family to family; Kingwood people to Kingwood people; and we believe in giving back more to the Kingwood family than we take,” said Darst. Price concurred, “We make it a priority to assist a family in meeting their specific needs. We encourage our families to honor their loved one by personalizing the services with photos, memorabilia and other items important in the life of the relative. Not only will this team plan with the family initially, but they will take an existing plan which a family has planned with another facility and carry out those plans as they were planned without additional cost. “We honor those plans, and will use them without question if that is the wish of the family.” Family is important to Darst, and his family led him into his loved profession. “My family owns Forest Lawn of Houston and my father was in this business,” he said. Darst has a long and impressive record of his own. Before he left his work at Kingwood Funeral Home to follow his vision, he served at Settegast-Kopf Company, and George H. Lewis and Sons in River Oaks. All are part of the Dignity Memorial Network which touts itself as “North America’s largest and most trusted brand for your funeral with 1,600 licensed providers.” “I wanted to work with the families individually. We are not a large corporate driven entity. We are not controlled by an outside force. I wanted more latitude to meet a family’s needs,” Darst stated. That is the driving force behind this new endeavor. Photo: The exterior of the new Darst Funeral Home at 796 Russell Palmer Road in Kingwood.

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