Butler Funeral Homes and Cremation Tribute Center has been family owned for five generations, but changes are the works for the longtime Springfield business, which was founded in 1893.
“I am working toward a transition after a couple years of discerning the next steps,” said owner Chris Butler. “We have an agreement with a company to align ourselves with, and that’s scheduled to be finalized May 31.”
Butler said while a number of companies expressed interest in acquiring Butler Funeral Homes, he liked the fact that Service Corporation International already had a presence in central Illinois due to their ownership of Bisch Funeral Home. The Texas-based company operates more than 1,900 locations in 44 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
“Over the years, some smaller organizations have aligned with us, and as we’ve done that, the outcome has been better for everyone involved. Our team and our clients have benefitted from coming together and sharing resources,” noted Butler.
Butler Funeral Homes expanded into New Berlin with the purchase of the McCullough-Delaney Funeral Home in 2005 and then acquired the Boardman-Smith Funeral Chapel in Springfield in 2015. The Butler family also acquired Staab Polk Memorial Home and Sangamon Prairie Reception Center in Chatham in 2018.
Now, Butler said it is time for the company to “align with an organization that’s larger than ours to help us continue to be the leaders in funeral services, cemeteries, pet cremation, advance planning and more. We’re too large to operate with the model that we have, but we’re not large enough to have the back-office support and functions that we need. We need to plug into something more robust.”
Butler said the other thing that drew him to align with Service Corporation International was that “they have a good track record of taking care of the team and clients alike.” He noted that the existing Butler Funeral Homes staff will all stay in place.
“The culture and service will continue; the change will be internally where we get plugged into resources – human resources, the business office, financial resources, all those things,” he said.
Butler said he will also stay with the company anywhere from six months to as long as two years to help with the transition, and he may be involved in consulting work for a longer period of time.
“My family is staying in the community, our community endowment (with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln) will continue, all of that goes on,” he said.
“It’s a good outcome. It’s not an ending, it’s a continuation of the history of the organization in our community.”
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