Life is a journey with many twists and turns. However, each journey must come to an end at some point. Cassandra M. "Cassi Coons" Brigham, the new owner of Powers, Present & Sixbey Funeral Home, will help families with the final journey as loved ones are laid to rest.
Brigham moved to Bemus Point when she was 10 years old, and she wanted to help people and the community she was a part of at a young age. She is a graduate of Maple Grove High School and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, where she got an associate degree in mortuary science. She then went on to get an associate degree in business administration from Jamestown Community College.
"I came back to Jamestown, but there wasn't any jobs available. So, Peterson-Blick (Funeral Home) offered me a position in Warren, Pa." Brigham said. "Since it was a different state, I needed more education to work in Warren. So, I went back to JCC."
Cassandra Brigham, new owner of Powers, Present and Sixbey, stands in front of the funeral home on E. Fifth Street.
P-J photo by Mallory Diefenbach
After completing her apprenticeship, she became a licensed funeral director in Pennsylvania in 2004. In 2010, Brigham wanted to own her own funeral home.
"I started work with JCC Small Business Development Center," she said, naming Beth Reed as her main source of help. "I had my own business plan, but they helped me with some of the financial statements and things that go along with a business plan."
At the end of 2011, she was unable to buy a funeral home. Even so, she didn't give up and went to work for Cummins Engine. The second time she decided to start from the ground up, and after working with the bank for almost a year, in June 2013 they told her because she was a new business and owner, they wouldn't take a big risk on a start-up. However, in July 2013 Powers, Present & Sixbey Funeral Home offered to sell to Brigham. Knowing this would be her last try, she, and her husband Robert, went for it and closed on April 15.
"Jeffrey Present and John Sixbey are the previous owners and they have been very helpful in welcoming me - helping me transition into the business," Brigham said. "They offered to stay on for awhile to help me out."
Brigham is the first female funeral home owner in Chautauqua County and is licensed both in New York and Pennsylvania. Both her and her husband, Robert, look forward to attending local events like Jamestown Jammers games and Celoron Rib-Fest. They sponsor local baseball and softball teams and plan on making scholarships down the road.
Her husband works at Jamestown Metal Products as a lean process engineer and they have two teenage children - Rene and Jack.
Brigham personalizes the funeral of each loved one who has passed away.
"Everyone is different, so I feel that each memorial or funeral service should be different as well," she said.
Pre-arranging a funeral is free and helps keep pressure off loved ones during their time of grieving. Power, Present & Sixbey also does cremations.
Brigham says people can visit to the funeral home at 316 E. Fifth St. in Jamestown. For any questions or concerns, call 664-5300 or visit www.presentsixbeyfuneral.com.