When Pat Byrne needed the services of his friend Bob Sheehy, he needed his friendship at the time of tragic loss just as much. “I don’t know how he did it” recalled Pat, adding “as a professional he left no stone unturned, while at the very same time providing me comfort at the time of a terrible loss”. He was the first guy to come to Pat’s need as a friend and professional. As Pat thinks back, he doesn’t know how Bob was able to be such a great friend and great professional at the same time. The truth may be that there is no boundary between friendship and service when the families you serve are not just “like family”. They are “family”.
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“When we built our new funeral home in Orland Park, it gave us an opportunity to think a different way about how funeral services could be more comfortable for families and friends who visit during difficult times” says Kathy Sheehy, who created the new décor for the Orland Park funeral home. From softer colors, to large windows providing sunlight, to higher ceilings, to more comfortable furniture, to a large octagonal coffee room with a charming and cheerful patio feel, no detail was overlooked in creating a space that offered comfort. “The sitting areas outside of the visitation area itself are very important to our overall space” according to Bob Sheehy. Adding “Even when people come for Preplanning funeral arrangements, I can see how important these oases of comfort are to them. It’s important to us that people feel that while they’re here, this is their home”.
Our grandfather Roger Sheehy sensed a change 100 years ago when he opened the first Sheehy Funeral Home in a storefront at 76th St. and Halsted. People would prefer to have services outside of their own homes. Roger Sheehy listened. So did his sons, Roger, Jack and Bob. Now, a full century later, Roger’s grandsons Bob and Jim are still listening to the families their family has served for generations at 6 different Chicago Southside locations since the first storefront opened in 1913 during the William Taft administration. Bob and Jim operate funeral homes in Orland Park and Burbank and are the standard bearers for the Sheehy Funeral Home family.
Locations have changed and the mission of the industry has expanded, but the one thing that has remained constant in the importance of listening to each and every person grieving a loved one who must take on the responsibility of making sure that the final goodbye is handled with care, compassion and professionalism. Bob and Jim Sheehy, along with their entire staff which includes five licensed funeral directors with combined experience of 85 years, promise that they will do everything down to the last detail to make this experience easier for families. Just like Roger did 100 years ago.
For 3 generations the Sheehy Family has been there for families on Chicago’s southside and south suburbs. With 2 locations to serve families in Burbank and Orland Park, we continue to provide services in your time of need. We call it the “Sheehy Way”. We developed a manner of service since 1913 that includes seeing to every need and concern a family has in preparing arrangements for their loved one. In celebrating the life of a loved one, families need to know we will handle every detail, big or small, so they are free to focus on meeting with family and friends who come to honor their loved one and comfort their family. There are literally hundreds of things that need to be addressed. Our mission is to address each and every concern and requirement from the beginning to the conclusion of the services a family chooses. We are here for Cremation services as well as pre-arrangement planning as well. In a hundred years you learn a lot about how to best serve a family in their greatest time of need. The Sheehy Way really means the most honorable and professional way we can possibly provide for you.
One of the most beautiful and rewarding things that happen to us is something we call a “Rose”. That’s what we refer to the letters and cards that come to us after we’ve completed services for a family. “It means a great deal to us when a family takes the time to tell us we exceeded their expectations. The whirlwind of emotions that occurs when a loved one passes is so overwhelming, that when a family sends us a card telling us that we helped them through this difficult experience, it just means a great deal to us”, according to Bob Sheehy. Adding, “With everything they have on their mind, it’s just very touching for them to think of thanking us. We save every one of these notes”.
They’re not just saved. Every member of the Staff is given the opportunity to read the “roses”. Often, one of our Funeral Directors or another valued staff member is being specifically thanked when Sheehy Funeral Home goes above and beyond in the area of servicing the families that have trusted them for 3 generations on Chicago’s South Side, with funeral homes in Burbank and Orland Park. “It’s just nice. They don’t have to do it, so when they do, it’s pretty special” said Jim Sheehy. A rose by any other name is a testament to a job well done.
There may be no more personal emotion that mourning a loved one. Everyone is a little bit different in how they mourn and how long they mourn. Part of the reason our custom includes a visitation to celebrate a life, is to promote a healthy and very necessary emotional response. While every experience really is truly unique, there are many commonalities among people going through a mourning process. Key events and anniversaries are always liable to inspire an emotional reaction. All of these “firsts” are a reminder that your loved one who celebrated with you is no longer humanly present to do so. These times can be especially difficult. Perhaps the most positive thing about these dates and events is that they are predictable and families can make the effort to be together during these times. It’s wise to plan these events and anniversaries well in advance of the actual dates. They can often be moments of sharing very positive memories of your loved one as well.
Death can be expected or sudden. During particularly long illnesses where debilitation of mind and or body has occurred, much mourning has taken place prior to the actual moment of death. It’s not unusual for people to seem to recover emotionally a bit sooner in these circumstances. It is possible that family has been “all cried out” during a long illness where their loved one has been uncommunicative or compromised significantly over the time of the illness. In cases of sudden deaths, families may be looking for answers and trying to think of ways they may have been able to help, or prevent a death from occurring. In these cases, it is important that friends remain close and help families deal with the grief of losing someone too soon. People need assurance and reassurance from family and friends that death can come randomly and is almost completely beyond anyone’s control.
The most important thing to remember is that “Listening” is the most important gift a friend can offer. Being a good listener is being a healer. The most common phrase at a visitation is “If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask”. What nearly everyone will need is a good listener. Be ready and be generous with your time when the call comes.
WE STRIVE TO OFFER PEOPLE OPTIONS; INCLUDING SEVERAL CREMATION SERVICE OPTIONS
Cremation has become a more requested service in the past several years. The increase in requests for cremation have resulted from a number of different preferences that range from cost, to a desire to have ashes spread in memorial in special places, to even environmental concerns for space. At Sheehy, we provide a full range of cremation services that include a direct cremation or more traditional services that conclude with cremation. These services include, but are not limited to, a Visitation in our chapel, a Church Memorial Service which can be personalized with family photographs, video and memorabilia or even an outdoor Memorial Garden Service. In the case of a Memorial Service, we can provide Memorial Registry Books, Memorial Service folders, Flag Cases, Personal Floral Tributes, or a number of other options that can facilitate a dignified service. Among other faiths, the Roman Catholic Church has included in its Rite of Christian Burial, and approved the burial of cremation remains in consecrated ground.
Sheehy Funeral Home offers a large selection of urns and containers for families to choose from for burial or safe keeping. We also provide suitable containers if your loved one’s wishes include placing their remains in final resting places of their choosing. Cremation is a key part of the full range of services available to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one. For more details about the protocol and procedure for cremation (click here) to contact Bill Kiley, or another of our Licensed Funeral Directors.
So much of what we do relies upon generations of traditions and customs in comforting families who have experienced loss. Gathering with the family is an instinctual and compassionate response for people. Our mission is to provide a comfortable environment and professional service that leaves a family with only one responsibility; greeting their guests and celebrating the life of their loved one.
Technology is now a part of our service.
When you enter Sheehy Funeral Home, among the first things you’ll see is a large screen image of the person you are there to honor and a directory to which chapel the visitation is in. It can also relate the information for religious services and place of burial. The person you are coming to honor is usually the first image you will see upon entering. Aside from the very practical benefits of this use of technology, it is viewed as a very warm welcome too.
When you enter our chapel, we have an electronic kiosk for registering visitors. It’s still new for many people, so we have an attendant nearby to help anyone use the kiosk to register their name and address in the guestbook. It’s easy to use and our families have appreciated how much easier it has made it for them to send “Thank you” cards after the services. The technology of the electronic registry has eliminated the problem of trying to decipher handwriting and more complete information is available when the services are over. We provide completely accurate pre-printed envelopes addressed to your guests who signed in at the visitation, saving families hours of time and effort when the efficiency is most appreciated.
At Sheehy Funeral Home, we’re always looking for any way to make a difficult time a little easier.
Robert and James Sheehy are carrying on the tradition of their grandfather, Roger, their uncle Roger and father, Robert that started in a storefront at 76th St. and Halsted Ave. in 1913. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Sheehy family providing service to Chicago’s south side families. Continuing their tradition with funeral homes in Burbank, IL and Orland Park, IL, Bob and Jim Sheehy are the standard bearers of the Sheehy Family Funeral Homes in Chicago. Jeff Vorva of The Regional News and The Reporter newspaper sat down to interview the Sheehy Brothers recently and filed this story documenting the Sheehy Family history in the funeral industry.
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The Southwest Suburban publication The Reporter published a very nice article about our family’s commitment to serving our communities. Most important to us is the article highlighting that our commitment today is the same as it has been for 3 generations of the Sheehy Family and a hundred years of continuous service to the families we have been privileged to serve. We thank every family who has entrusted us with caring for them and their loved ones during their time of need. We’re truly honored to be chosen to assist them. With 84 years of combined experience with our current staff of directors, we’ll continue to be there for families when they need us.