Janet Ferguson has helped the people of Beaudesert at some of their most vulnerable and personally painful times.
The born and bred local, who started working at Beaudesert Funerals in 1991, is now semi-retiring from Brown Family Funerals after three decades in that line of work.
Janet, 63, has carried out her duties with an empathy that can only come from being genuinely connected with the people she helps.
“I’ve learned, especially when helping a family I’m quite close to, you experience sadness and shock when you hear of the passing, but then I know I’ve got a job to do to help them through,” she said.
“We do what we have to do and then we can fall in a heap afterwards.”
Janet has moved to be closer to and help care for her mother, Honor Brown, who will be 93 next month and has moved into a lifestyle village in Pimpama.
She will still return for some funerals and is setting up a home office to continue monument and headstone work as a consultant with the local funeral companies and families.
The shift away from Beaudesert into semi-retirement will be significant for Janet, who has fond childhood memories of attending St Mary’s school and church and has lived and breathed work here for most of her adult life.
“I’ll miss seeing the families I’ve grown up with, especially helping them through the difficult time when they’ve lost someone, and hopefully I’ll be back often enough,” she said.
Janet spent many years in management roles, and prior to that her first job was at Logan and Albert Butter Factory from 1973 to 1981 until she had children.
“A couple of weeks ago I went up to the Beaudesert Museum for the first time in years and they showed me some equipment I worked with at the butter factory, including these long trays with metal plates, which I’d use to put the name and address of milk suppliers onto envelopes,” she said.
“These plates at the museum had my handwriting on them, and I thought ‘oh wow, I’m part of history here’.”