Having first opened its doors back in 1904, McClafferty Funeral Directors is the city’s longest established independent funeral director in Derry.
Renowned for its personal service in people's time of need, McClafferty Funeral Directors reached a significant milestone recently when its current owner and proprietor Kieran Connor took the reigns in March earlier this year, after fellow local man John Casey stepped down from the position following an almighty 32 years in the role.
The family business has an impressive history since its launch 115 years ago, when John L. McClafferty established McClafferty Funeral Directors in King Street in the Waterside, Derry where he and his family ran the business until 1974.
Jack McKeone later took ownership of McClafferty Funeral Directors whilst situated at Meenan Square in the Bogside. He continued to run the business for the next 13 years before ownership passed to Mr John Casey in 1987, who devoted himself to providing the authentic, personal and caring service the families of Derry have become accustomed to in their time of need.
''I was delighted to have been a part of it,'' enthuses John Casey, who laughs good-humouredly that he is ''not enjoying his retirement'' despite his 71 years of age.
''I spent a great deal of my life here, this business is all about the people,'' he reveals, adding that his family is happy to have his company at home now.
''But I am really happy to have been a part of the unique history of McClafferty Funeral Directors and I know that it is now in excellent hands with Kieran Connor.''
But John has not given up work entirely, reports new proprietor Kieran, who explains that John's help throughout the transition period as he stepped up to the role has been ''invaluable.''
''John has been such a big help during the handover, he is always there at the other side of the phone. John knows people, he was in the business for 32 years. You can’t buy that kind of experience and personal touch.
''It makes you nervous being a new face coming into a new role, you wonder: ''Are the people of the city going to receive me?'' It was a worry but the people of Derry have been very supportive and kind with their well wishes.
''We have always provided a first-class service, and have honoured the tradition and heritage of the business by staying devoted to the McClafferty name.
''At the same time it is very important to modernise McClafferty - we are bringing it more into touch with the younger generations whilst reacquainting the older generations with our professional services, getting into the modern swing of things with our newly informative website and renovated offices.
''At McClafferty we are all about authenticity, care and reassurance. Nowadays people want to plan more, people want to be more organised, our door is always open. We provide pre-paid funeral options which is one of the big things people are more aware of in modern times especially from a younger age.
''We're seeing middle-aged parents for example who are aware that they don't want the financial burden to fall on their families. Funerals are a difficult time for the families of loved ones who pass away, and it just means the financial aspect and funeral plans are completely taken care of.
''We are a modern funeral director, but we provide what we have always provided in that we are available to talk 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
''We are very proud of our 24 hour call-service, we understand how important it is to deal with a real person and always have someone available.''
In addition to the website and 24-hour call service, as of March 8th of this year McClafferty has also opened a second office.
''Our funeral home is based right in the heart of Rathmor, Creggan here in the Cityside, but we felt it was important to open a second office in the Waterside as we felt it would be more convenient for families to have offices on both sides of the River Foyle.
''Hopefully it cuts down on some people's travel time and just make things that little bit easier.
''We are based right in the heart of the community, and I do want people to know that we are here for them when they need us.''
Kieran continues: ''My goal is for McClafferty to become the families number one choice when it comes to funeral directors. I know we are the best at what we do.''
''I've spent a good deal of my life here - and I am never too far away now,'' laughs John. ''I spend a good deal of time on the phone helping with the handover, and there is constant contact.''
''I rely on John for guidance,'' adds Kieran admiringly. ''But also with regards to respect. This is a very unique business, and I value John's input so much - I always knew that would be the case.''
''I'm always happy to oblige,'' John laughs.
For further information, visit: mcclaffertyfunerals.com or contact: 028 7126 2823.
The Funeral Home – Cityside Office is located at Unit 3 Rathmore Business Park Derry, BT48 0LZ, whilst the Waterside Office is located at Unit 9 Woodland Close, Woodside Heights, Waterside, BT47 2FG.