Top News

Hants’ Faces Friday - Josh Noiles

Josh Noiles said he learns from every funeral he directs – even though the lessons can come at a high price.
Josh Noiles said he learns from every funeral he directs – even though the lessons can come at a high price.

WINDSOR, N.S. — Faces Friday is our online feature highlighting members of our community: their strength, challenges and humanity.

Meet Brooklyn resident and funeral director Josh Noiles, who has been working in the profession for almost 10 years. Noiles talks about how he deals with being surrounded by intense grief and why he aspired to work in the funeral business.

Meet Brooklyn resident and funeral director Josh Noiles, who has been working in the profession for almost 10 years. Noiles talks about how he deals with being surrounded by intense grief and why he aspired to work in the funeral business.

Josh Noiles said he admired the role of the funeral director when he was growing up and knew he wanted to be part of that industry in the future.

“I’m from Brooklyn. I’ve lived there pretty much my whole life. I’m 29 this year and I’ve been there since 1990. I went to Brooklyn Elementary then West Hants Rural High School and then Avon View after that for Grades 11 and 12 – the first years that school opened. I was co-president (of the student union) there in 2005. My family is all from here; my brother and I are really close. He had no real plans to leave and we kind of talked about it. I went to Acadia University for two years, taking English, theatre, and history, (and) planning to teach somewhere around here so I could stay. Anyway, I was working at the Shaw Brick Factory for a summer, but had always had an interest in the funeral business. My second year at Acadia I was talking to my mother and she had heard that they were looking for a summer hand to help out around here and I took a position at the funeral home and it kind of clicked for me. I think it clicked for the owners here and then I switched over. They gave me a full time job so I had the option to take the funeral course through Kingstec NSCC online. We worked it out and I ended up changing directions and my education and ended up doing that.”

Josh Noiles deals with the most intense moments in a person’s life on a regular basis as a funeral director, but to him, this line of work is a calling.

“When I was young and attending funerals here and in Springhill, where my dad’s family is from, I remember going to the funeral home and being exposed to what’s going on there. I just remember as a kid being really impressed with the funeral director. I always thought that was an esteemed position. I thought they were so helpful when I watched my parents and my family so upset and at a loss as far as what to do and it just always impressed me that the funeral director would keep his or her wits about them and had kind of a sense of humour and lightness and remained calm and offered direction during a rough time. I think that stuck with me as far as an admirable position, a position that would really help somebody. I always respected the funeral home and always had an interest in that industry, especially in a small town setting. Working in this industry in the area that I’m from, I get to know and work with a lot of the people I grew up with, people that my parents know, so that means a lot to me. I don’t know if I would want to do this job in the same way elsewhere. It’s an honour to help out the people you know.”

Josh Noiles, funeral director at DeMont Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, says it can be tough to balance being a strong, stable guide and a light and humourous one when the situation calls for it.

“Growing up, my grandmother and her mother-in-law, so my great-grandmother, moved in with us in 1998. They were from Springhill, and a lot of my free time was spent socializing and interacting with them, whereas I think a lot of my peers didn’t spend as much time with senior citizens and adults and I think that really shaped an interest I had in just chatting, talking and working with older people. This job kind of fits in that way. I’ve always been a people person and I like to think that I know how a person would want to be treated and talked to, especially at a sensitive time. I guess I don’t even have to try, it just comes naturally. I want to help the people I’m working with.”

Josh Noiles said he’s happy to be working and living in West Hants where he spent much of his childhood.

“It’s a difficult balance at times, and it does make the job interesting, the fact that every person you end up dealing with is different. You have to be able to modulate it and control it. Sometimes a little joke or a little sense of humour would totally put one family at ease and you can just sort of feel that and other times it totally wouldn’t work and you just have to be neutral and helpful and clear and direct. The other part of that challenge is trying to quickly glean that information from somebody and adjust it on the fly. You just have to hope for the best outcome. It can be the roughest time in someone’s life and you want to be able to guide them through and give them exactly what you would want in that situation.”

Josh Noiles said he admired the role of the funeral director when he was growing up and knew he wanted to be part of that industry in the future.

“All deaths and passing’s are very upsetting, especially for the folks who are around them. It’s extra challenging when... the person is younger and are things you hope would never happen. But, even though it can be a little exhausting, you don’t take it home with you. But I look at each family I work with and each death we deal with at the funeral home as a sort of learning experience. You can apply a lot of it to your own life and I think it’s healthy and being able to walk away with it and realize you don’t know how much time you do have with someone and you should try to make the most of the connections you have with your own family and friends. Most of the time, it does go well; they feel comfort from the direction and help we’ve provided. In a way, there are many good things to take away from each of these experiences, even though it does come at a price.”

Recent Stories