Ever since she was a child, Gretel Bohn says she has had a strong desire to have a positive influence on the world.
“Growing up, I was always taught that the most important part of life is leaving a positive impact on the people you meet,” she said. “My mother always told me the reason we are here on earth is to help others, and to make their lives better in any way we can.”
After graduating from Camas High School in 2009, Bohn initially thought a career in nursing would help her fulfill that mission. But while attending Clark College, she realized that working with patients who are suffering from a serious illness or injury was not where she was meant to help.
That’s when she contacted Ron Brown, owner of Brown’s Funeral Home in Camas. Currently the oldest family-owned funeral home in Clark County, it has been owned by the Brown family since 1965 when Ron’s father, Gordon Brown, purchased it from Fred Stoller in 1965.
“[Ron] took me under his wing and showed me everything, little by little,” said Bohn, who began an apprenticeship at Brown’s in January 2013 as she studied in the funeral service education program at Mt. Hood Community College. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.”
Bohn, 23, discovered that it was just the right fit for her personality and career aspirations.
“What we focus on here is helping people move forward, find closure, and move on with their lives,” she said. “This is more than just a job. I wanted to spend my time helping people at this horrible moment in their lives, so that they could heal and resume their lives.”
Bohn, having completed her associate of applied science degree at MHCC and passed the necessary state exam, is now a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is also certified to sell funeral and burial pre-planning insurance policies.
She is now part of a staff that also includes Brown’s son, Nathan, and Pam Jensen, as well as Brian Grant, the pastor at NorthLake Church in Camas who serves as a chaplain for Brown’s Funeral Home when he is needed.
“We all work together here,” Brown said.
Brown said Bohn, who has lived in Camas all of her life, has demonstrated a real compassion for the families they serve.
“She’s been well received,” he said. “She has seen the good aspects of what we do in funeral service, and also the sad, tragic deaths we see sometimes. She has adapted well. I think if my dad was here, he would be very proud of her, just like we are.”
Brown’s Funeral Home is located at 410 N.E. Garfield St. For more information, call 834-3692 or visit www.brownsfh.com.