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Honoring Dewey: Morgantown bids goodbye to the longtime funeral dwelling director

Prefer it or not, an individual’s self-worth nowadays is most frequently measured by what individuals say about him on social media.

For those who carry that by to the life and instances of Dewey Hastings, it simply would possibly seem that the longtime funeral director had his personal private Thesaurus of Coronary heart to assist in that effort — even when he was too busy serving households in Morgantown and throughout the area to appreciate it.

Hastings, the chief director of Morgantown’s Hastings Funeral Dwelling, died final week on the age of 97.

That very same funeral dwelling, which he and his spouse Mary co-founded in 1952 and continues to be doing enterprise from its identical location at 153 Spruce Road, was entrusted together with his preparations.

His providers had been Wednesday at WVU’s Erickson Alumni Heart.

For many of the funeral dwelling’s 70-plus years, Hastings was a part of its proceedings, as he helped households navigate their grief within the powerful, unhappy transition of getting to say goodbye to a liked one.

And Mary was there, too, proper as much as her passing final spring.

Households marveled on the gracious overtures prolonged by the couple throughout visitations and providers — which is why loads of the identical phrases to explain Dewey maintain popping up in all these tribute posts to him.

Phrases corresponding to “compassionate,” “mild” and “good,” which had been among the many prime three.

And “empathetic,” “variety,” “measured” and “caring,” for the opposite re-occurring entries in that particular doc with the director’s title on it.

“Effectively, that was Dad,” mentioned his son, Dan Hastings, additionally a Hastings funeral director who joined the household enterprise in 1974.

“I imply, he was real, and households may see that,” Hastings, the youthful, continued.

“He was good in that position. He and my mom, each.”

‘There goes Smitty’

Hastings, the elder, was born Dewey Smith Hastings in 1925, and grew up on the household’s dairy farm close to Morgantown.

“Hardscrabble,” was the phrase for that one. The Melancholy was on.

“Smitty” Hastings, as he was then recognized, toiled laborious at his chores — however he manufactured his personal farm-kid enjoyable each probability he’d get.

“Dad would at all times be form of smudged and soiled from the work,” his son mentioned.

“He had this pony he’d trip across the farm. He liked that. He was this blonde-haired, little dude with freckles. Individuals would say, ‘There goes Smitty.’”

He graduated from Morgantown Excessive College and was working his approach by WVU. When World Battle II broke out, Smitty dropped out — to enlist within the U.S. Military Air Corps.

A once-little child who favored driving his pony didn’t waste time saddling up for what can be his life’s work when he got here again from the combating in 1945.

He signed on for a two-year apprenticeship with an area funeral dwelling, and enrolled within the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

Hastings graduated in 1949, the identical yr he and Mary walked down the aisle.

That they had mutual associates, Dan Hastings mentioned.

“Option to go, Dewey,” they mentioned — after she mentioned sure.

“Yeah, my mom was a magnificence queen,” he mentioned. “It was like, ‘Hey, she’s goin’ out with Smitty.’ However they’d a blessed life collectively.”

Which additionally included knowledgeable life collectively.

On a February day in 1952 in Morgantown — it was the day after Valentine’s Day and temperatures weren’t too removed from the kids — Dewey and Mary turned the important thing to the door of the funeral dwelling that’s been there ever since.

Household assist (and extra household assist, after that)

Dewey’s dad and mom, George and Jeannette, mortgaged their farm and its tools to assist finance the enterprise, and Mary’s household opened their purses and wallets, too.

“When dad informed me that,” Dan Hastings mentioned, “he simply checked out me and mentioned, ‘Danny, you speak about an incentive to attain.’”

It was a household enterprise, by and thru, Dan mentioned.

He’s arising on his 50th within the enterprise. His brother, additionally named Dewey, grew to become licensed additionally, to affix his brother on Spruce Road.  

The boys needed to assist their people.

No tears

As a result of their dad and mom had been from Morgantown, that meant they had been of Morgantown, too.

Mary did charity work on the previous Vincent Pallotti Hospital on Willey Road and Dewey joined Rotary, amongst different outreach organizations.

The couple recurrently held court docket at Sons of Italy Lodge No. 14, the place they’d their very own desk, they usually had been recognized for his or her arm-in-arm strolls down Excessive Road.

Dewey did some charity work out of the general public eye additionally, Dan mentioned.

A number of of the households who Dewey knew as a hometown man weren’t in one of the best financial circumstances, Dan mentioned, however his father at all times made certain their youngsters had garments for varsity and different wanted necessities.

“He didn’t need his title connected,” Dan mentioned. “He would simply say to a trainer, ‘Hey, let me know.’”

Within the days after his dad’s passing, his son has discovered himself on the receiving finish of the human charity, because it had been.

Individuals come up and specific condolences, utilizing most of the identical phrases highlighted in that aforementioned Thesaurus of Coronary heart — for a patriarch who knew find out how to ease the passage.

“I’m so appreciative of that,” Dan mentioned.

“I thank them and shake their hand,” he mentioned. “What they are saying means a lot.”

Then, he smiles.

“Hey, no tears for Smitty. We’re celebrating him, as a result of he knew find out how to do it.”

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