When Norman Dean opened the doors of the funeral home in 1957 with his wife Carolyn, he envisioned a family owned business that would serve the community for many years to come.  His son Thomas Dean and his wife Bonnie stepped up to fill Norman’s shoes in 1986, and they carried on his parents’ passion for helping local families.

Because we have been family owned and operated for over 50 years and all our staff resides locally, we have formed close working relationships with our local churches, hospitals, nursing homes, florists, and cemeteries.  These relationships help ensure that your services are seamless from beginning to end.

An article written by Steve Sears and published in the January 2020 edition of Denville Life offers insight into how and why we do what we do at Norman Dean Home for Services:

Norman Dean and his wife, Carolyn opened in 1957, not just a funeral home, but a special place for those mourning a beloved family member to be comforted in a place that could be (and is) a 'home.'

62 years later, son and co-owner Tom Dean, as well as fellow co-owner David Milne, still echo and live that past, and assure that same care, love, and respect reign today for folks in Denville, Rockaway, Parsippany, Mountain Lakes, Boonton, Morris Plains, and the surrounding area, who come with their needs to Norman Dean Home for Services.

"Dad always wanted it to be an atmosphere where people could feel comfortable, coming in like it was their own home," says Dean, "because back in the early 1900s, everything was done in someone's home. My dad was all about service - hence the name Norman Dean Home for Services. It wasn't about selling products; it was about helping families go from the loss to the burial and moving on from there."

Care, comfort, understanding, and guidance at a critical time, and the knowledge that there are no cookie-cutter funerals. "Guidance is extremely important because people don't know what they want. They have no idea," says Dean. "They just go by what they've seen, and find out later and we say, 'Wait a minute, let's talk about this before we actually say that's what we're going to do." Let's find out what the family wants. With one family you could have two or three different ideas. So that's when we have to sit down and explain things to people and let them know what they can do."

Dean then alludes to the key thing. "It's about family. We all create relationships with the families. It's about trust, and how they can trust us. A lot of times we create relationships with them that last for years."

Milne has grown up in, and is now a partner in, the business. Dean took over from his parents in 1986. As he retires he has passed the baton to Milne, knowing that Norman Dean Home for Services is in excellent hands. "I learned when I came here that a lot of the stuff I was taught in school - meaning merchandising - kind of went out the window, and I was kind of happy about that," affirms Milne. "Like Tom said, it's not about products, but caring for people. Once I learned that, I felt immediately comfortable that I was in the right place."

"David and I," says Dean, "share the same values that my parents and I had, so it was important that we do this (the partnership) correctly. It took a year and a half, but it was good for David, it was good for me, and it was extremely good for the community, because it keeps the same atmosphere. This isn't just a business; we are part of the community. We go out, we give talks, we give advice, we have people stop in and talk to us about pre-arrangements, and we understand the laws because that's our industry."

Dean also relates an example of the special Norman Dean Home for Services personal touch. "We bring ideas to the families. Making things personal; doing things that they don't think they'd be allowed to do or would've ever thought of. We've always been focused on what the family's needs are, and it's been expanded to a little more about celebrating that person's life by introducing into the funeral home itself, parts of what that person did in their life." One example was a woman who died many years ago. The family kept commenting about her love of baking. Milne approached a friend who owned a store and borrowed a brand-new oven. They placed it next to the casket in the funeral home, collected all the recipes the family agreed to share, "and people walked in and there it was," says Dean. "These represent what that person meant to the family and it doesn't cost anything. It's free." And it's the difference. "My employees are into listening to what the family tells about the deceased. They go out of their way to make it special so that all of their friends and relatives look at it and say, 'Wow! That's amazing.'

"We celebrate and give nothing but 100% service and guidance to the family."

Norman Dean Home for Services is located at 16 Righter Avenue in Denville and can be reached by calling (973) 627-1880, or via email at info@normandean.com. Visit www.normandean.com for more information.

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