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October 24, 2017

Faces of Fauquier: He quietly helps the grieving

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Randy Minter in 1986 purchased Moser Funeral Home with a business partner. Seven years later, he owned the entire business
I receive great satisfaction in serving families well. It’s certainly one of the most trying, difficult times in a person’s life.
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Staff Journalist
He helps families in their times of greatest need.

For 37 years, Moser Funeral Home owner and Director Randolph “Randy” Minter has respectfully helped clients plan funeral services for loved ones.

“A key to being a good funeral director is to give folks options and carry them out in a quiet and unobtrusive way,” Mr. Minter said. “To take that loss and make it as positive as you possibly can for someone.”

A Fauquier native, Mr. Minter grew up near Warrenton.

“I’ve always been interested in funeral service — even in high school as a career,” he said.

When Mr. Minter’s mother died suddenly during his teenage years, Moser Funeral home coordinated the service.

“They took a really chaotic time in our family and created a semblance of order,” he said. “They were kind and respectful of our family and our advocate. They were there to help us in every way.

“When I was growing up, we were a smaller community and, when people in the community had a tragedy, everyone pitched in and helped. If a death occurred in our community, we went to support those people. It was never hidden from us.

“Some people in my generation have never even been to a funeral. That always surprises me,” Mr. Minter added.

In high school, he learned the business working part-time on weekends at a Fairfax funeral home.

After receiving his mortuary science diploma in 1980, he got a job at Moser in Warrenton.

In 1986, he purchased the business from the Moser family with a business partner. Seven years later, he owned the entire business.

Involved in every aspect of the business, Mr. Minter discusses arrangements with family members, directs funeral or memorial services, performs embalming and operates the crematorium, among other duties.

Moser serves about 300 families annually.

About 10 full-time and five part-time employees work at the funeral home.

However, sometimes a stigma comes with the job.

“For some people, I represent a hard time in their life, and I can’t change that,” Mr. Minter said. “But what I hope they remember from that hard time is that myself and my company helped them.”

Established in 1836, the funeral home ranks the oldest continuously operated business in Fauquier County, Mr. Minter believes.

On Main Street until 1955, the funeral home at one time provided ambulance service to citizens before local rescue squads formed.

The funeral home moved to the Broadview building for more parking and a chapel.

Over the years, Moser has adapted to meet the community’s needs.

“When I came to work here, there were so few people who chose cremation, we only had two urns. Today we might have 20, 25” different urns, Mr. Minter said.

“Twelve, 13 years ago we placed our own crematorium in our building. In 1990, we developed the cemetery (now 10.5 acres). Our local town cemetery had met capacity,” he said.

Mr. Minter estimates 35 to 40 percent of citizens choose cremation services today.

He has seen Fauquier County evolve.

“My father was a farmer, so I have watched agriculture change in Fauquier from livestock and crops — although that still exists — to more venues such as vineyards and people who sell vegetables.”

A supporter of local arts, Mr. Minter helps sponsor Bluemont concerts and the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra through his business.

In the foreseeable future, Mr. Minter hopes to expand the services of the funeral home by creating a reception hall on adjacent real estate.

Last month, he purchased a commercial building on nine-tenths of an acre next to Moser Funeral Home for $1.25 million. He also hopes to move some offices into that building.

“It is a stressful line of work, but not any more or less stressful than nurses or doctors who deal with tough problems for people,” Mr. Minter said.

• Age
58

• Home
Warrenton

• Work
Moser Funeral Home, 1980 to present; owner, funeral director, 1986 to present; owner Bright View Cemetery; apprenticeship, Everly Funeral Home in Fairfax, 1977-79.

• Why do you do the job?
I receive great satisfaction in serving families well. It’s certainly one of the most trying, difficult times in a person’s life. I try to have my facility decorated in a way that is comforting, but not overbearing. We have musicians that can accompany a service. We make memory DVDs with photos of family members for services.

• Family
Wife, Robin; two children, Mary Lib, 19, and Tucker, 16.

• Education
Mortuary science diploma, Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, 1980; national and state funeral service licenses; Fauquier High School, 1977.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Member, organist and choir director (since age 16) at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church near Orlean; member and past president, Warrenton Rotary Club; board member, Highland School and The Fauquier Bank; Virginia State Cemetery Board member; former member of the Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, and former board member Hospice Support of Fauquier.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
All my life.

• Why do you live here?
Owning and operating my business is an important part. I appreciate all the wonderful organizations and people. They are all threads, part of a tapestry that makes it a beautiful place.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s a beautiful place to live in its physical beauty — the mountains, pastures and the downtown areas. It’s a beautiful balance of mountains and calm pastures and crop fields. I think we’ve done a very fine job of keeping it that way.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I would hope that our local civic leaders continue to carry out our current land use and development policies, but give ear to future development and traffic issues. Our community is very fortunate through past years to provide a beautiful place to live and work. I just hope they carry out the plans of the past and that the planners think for the good of the whole community.

• What do you do for fun?
I enjoy music and being with my family at home. We have a pool at home. It’s a nice place where I can decompress.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I just don’t have one favorite place. We are blessed with so many beautiful parts.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
It will be similar to today if we continue to offer development according to the comprehensive plan. I think traffic, especially through the Town of Warrenton, will continue to be an issue that our county, town and state will have to address.

• Favorite TV show?
“60 Minutes” and “Madam Secretary.” I’m a news junkie. I like to listen to conservative and liberal leaning, so I can listen to both sides and come to my own decision on where I stand.

• Favorite movie?
I don’t have one.

• Favorite book?
The Bible. Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” I think if everyone did that, we would have a wonderful world.

• Favorite vacation spot?
The Outer Banks, N.C.

• Favorite food?
Southern cooking, Italian and Chinese.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My father had lots of little sayings. One of them was, “When you are green, you grow. When you get ripe, you get rotten.” If we sit on our laurels and don’t expand ourselves and don’t try to listen to both sides of issues. If we don’t give one another a hand. If we just sit back and enjoy what we have or gripe about what we don’t have, you’re going to get rotten. That’s what his meaning was, to continue to enhance life.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My father, Walter “Dick” Minter for his very strong principles, his unwavering support and love. He could walk into a room with a millionaire and the poorest person and be at home with both. He had faith in God and saw that as a source of comfort and strength and passed that on to his children. You saw that in his life, not in his actions. He wasn’t much of a Bible quoter, he just lived it. He was as happy if you handed him a ripe tomato, as if you had handed him a million dollars.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
Put some aside and secure my children’s educational futures and enjoy the opportunity to use it to eliminate human suffering. Give some to people who need help.

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Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at cbrown@fauquiernow.com, Don Del Rosso at don@fauquiernow.com or Editor Lou Emerson at LKE@FauquierNow.com.
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