“Burstows is so much more than a business… [it’s] helping grieving families begin healing.” The pain of grief is a heavy weight when we lose a loved one, and it is often the funeral experience that instigates the healing. Don Burstow understands the long journey that accompanies the passing of a loved one. As a fifth generation co-owner of TS Burstows Funerals, he has become accustomed to bearing the burden of others. “My mentor many years ago told me, ‘The experience and counsel that a grieving family receives 48 to 72 hours after the death of a loved one will impact them negatively or positively for the rest of their lives’,” he said.

Steeped in history, Don’s family has been invested in funeral services for more than a century. Don’s great grandfather, Thomas Stephen Burstow, was a jack of all trades: builder, cabinetmaker, foreman, furniture maker and undertaker. As an accomplished member of the Toowoomba Council and elected as Mayor three times, he proudly served the community until his death in 1928. Thomas Stephen Burstow brought his family and the love for his work to Toowoomba, and that love and care is still being practised today, five generations on. “At Burstows, each generation is a custodian of the family business for a time, passing the baton to the next generation with the responsibility of continuing the family legacy. No sell outs, no restarts, just one family’s continuing commitment to a legacy started 118 years ago,” Don said.

Burstows is a name that means something in Toowoomba; a foundation of values and tradition. It is with those values that their family has stayed in step and ahead of multi-national companies, maintaining a trusted relationship with the people of the Downs region. Don and his brother Trevor cemented that trust after a visit to the United States, the home of two of the largest deathcare providers in the world. Unsure of how to keep up with the “big” players, the brothers went to discover about how the big companies worked — strategies and all. They returned with a spring in their step, knowing that if there is anything that sets them apart, it is that they had not lost family connection. “I sense the community has appreciated our commitment to remain a local family business … We are humbled by the community’s trust in us and loyalty to us. It is such a privilege. To build on the trust earned by previous generations and pursuing the family’s ethos of excellence in all we do.”

Don believes in the legacy of his family, and what they have built for the Downs and surrounds, with branches in Toowoomba, Dalby, Warwick and Gatton. Each branch ensures that funerals are treated with respect and dignity. Don’s mantra, in the words of Thomas Lynch, reflects his thoughts. “A funeral has an obligation to get the dead where they need to go and the living to where they need to be.”

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