FAIRFIELD – Bryan-Braker Funeral Home has been helping families cope with the deaths of loved ones for over 60 years and Craig Bryan, owner and president, remains involved as he prepares to pass the business on to his daughter , Jenna Bryan Stewart.
âA family business means you are involved on a daily basis,â said Bryan.
The Bryan family has run the business since 1954, although its roots run deeper. This was the year Bryan’s father, Paul C. Bryan Jr., purchased the Suisun City-based Hansen Funeral Home, whose lineage dates back to around 1906.
Fairfield surpassed Suisun City in terms of growth and Paul Bryan moved the business to Fairfield in 1964. It is located in what was then the outskirts of town along West Texas Street, close to the County Hospital. , the yard of the State Department of Transportation and the large park that would later be named Allan Witt Park.
His father believed those three neighbors would remain a constant, said Craig Bryan. He was right in two of the three cases – the Caltrans park and yard are still there, but the county hospital was demolished in 2002 and replaced with apartments.
Initially, Craig Bryan had no plans to continue the family business. He went to college to learn about finance and business, then returned to Fairfield about 30 years ago to work with his father for a year. He thought he could learn from his father, but that a year would be enough.
But Craig Bryan and his father got along well at work. It turned out that Paul Bryan retired about five years later. Craig Bryan and his wife, Francie, who served as Cremation and Trust Administrator and Pre-Arrangement Advisor, are now beginning the transition to retirement. Her daughter, Jenna Bryan Stewart, joined the family business eight years ago. She is vice-president and general manager, managing the day-to-day operations.
âLike my father, I never intended to continue the family business,â said Stewart. âHowever, my temporary stint revealed my passion for this profession. My father and my path seem to follow the same path as he and my grandfather. I think it was more of a surprise to me than to anyone else.
Stewart appreciates that her father is still involved in the business and continues to share his experience and knowledge with her.
âThere is always more to learn here,â she said.
âIt’s an interesting business,â Craig Bryan said of funeral home operations. âIt’s different every day.
Bryan-Braker Funeral Home offers a full range of personalized pre-planning and planning services for funeral, burial and cremation, including formal services, all with the goal of helping family members and surviving friends to heal after the loss of a loved one; markers and monuments; and modern-day tributes to the deceased, to include tribute videos, memorial websites and a live webcast of the funeral.
The company is also involved in the community. For example, its staff members hold an annual Memorial Tree Memorial Service during the holidays so that people can remember their deceased loved ones and provide support to families during the holiday season. The company is also active with the Boys and Girls Club and the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce, hosting periodic chamber mixers. Francie Bryan is a member of Tip and Soroptimist International.
Bryan-Braker Funeral Home won a Spirit of Solano Award in 2013, based on a nomination from the Dixon Chamber of Commerce.
âBeing a small business is tough – I know I preach to the choir – it’s a lot of hard work,â Bryan said in a banquet hall filled with business and civic leaders at the time. âHaving a very Dixon-friendly chamber of commerce makes things a lot easier. “
The family opened a funeral home in Dixon in 2008. The office has since closed, but the business continues to thrive in Fairfield.
Bryan-Braker, in addition to the Fairfield funeral home, also operates the Fairmont Memorial Park on Union Avenue. Bryan favors a particular area of ââthe site. It is a mausoleum which has seven levels for coffins and a canopy supported by pillars. It is surrounded by palm trees and overlooks the Catholic cemetery of Saint-Alphonse.
When you are there, the hustle and bustle of the city, although very close, seems far away.
âIt’s my favorite place,â Bryan said.
Testimonials on the company’s website commend staff for the care they provide to families throughout the funeral process; for the kindness and attention of the staff; for the respect staff show to grieving families; and for their compassion and sensitivity.
Contact the Daily Republic Newsroom at 425-4646.
Bryan-Braker Funeral Home
- Address: 1850 W. Texas St.
- Telephone: 707-425-4697
- Website: www.bryanbraker.com
Fairmont Memorial Chapel