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Saint John’s longest serving funeral home will close, but be born again as training centre

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WATCH: Fitzpatrick's Funeral Home has occupied the same location in uptown Saint John for about 130 years. But that is about to change. Andrew Cromwell reports – Feb 13, 2018

Fitzpatrick’s Funeral Home has occupied the same location in uptown Saint John for about 130 years.

It’s the city’s longest serving funeral home. But that will soon come to an end.

“On Wednesday, February 28th Fitzpatrick’s Funeral Home will cease operations as a funeral home,” said Stephen MacMackin, president of Brenan’s Funeral Homes.

READ MORE: Saint John church congregation moves to men’s homeless shelter building

The announcement has been described as bittersweet. MacMackin says the funeral business is changing.

“Obviously parking and access in the facilities is very important today,” he explained.

“The community has shifted around where people live.”

There is still lots of life left in the building. It’s being turned over to Outflow Ministry, which operates a men’s homeless shelter just a few doors down. Outflow operate a new service in the former funeral home, the Outflow Centre for Training and Employment.

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“This is kind of seeking justice for people,” said Outflow’s executive director Jayme Hall. The new centre will house a new workshop along with classroom and business space.

“Having some guys coming in and working and in particular young people in their 20s that might be on the fringes and have a few issues,” Hall said.

There is the desire to have a special focus on the young people in need that have spent time at the nearby men’s shelter.

“Maybe a younger guy that has the ability to move on into employment,” Hall explained.

WATCH: Moncton homeless shelter trying to double beds it can offer

Click to play video: 'Moncton homeless shelter trying to double beds it can offer' Moncton homeless shelter trying to double beds it can offer
Moncton homeless shelter trying to double beds it can offer – Jan 2, 2018

“We’d love to be able to certainly have him come to the workshop, learn some skill with one of our carpenters and maybe go on to another job or even work within our social enterprise Catapult Construction,” he said.

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Former funeral home owner Hugh Fitzpatrick understands the need to change. “It’s served its purpose,” Fitzpatrick said. “Brenan’s has a  big operation and huge facility, he said. “I don’t think the volume which was here will tax their facility. They’ll be able to manage that fine.”

The Fitzpatrick name will stay as well.  It will be known as The Fitzpatrick Building.

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