Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home, located near the corner of Margaret Wallace and Idlewild Roads, is owned by husband and wife Michael and Julie Neddo. The Neddos purchased the already-established business – the “Lowe” in the name is a nod to founder and previous owner Jim Lowe – five years ago this August using an inheritance from Julie’s grandfather.
The funeral home represented a huge career shift for Julie, who taught special education at Queen’s Grant Community School before purchasing the business. “My husband is the one who has the background,” says Julie. “He’s been in the funeral homes – directing, embalming – for seventeen years now.”
Lowe-Neddo is the quintessential small business. For four years, it was comprised of only owners Michael and Julie and funeral director Lee Dixon, a holdover from when the home was owned by the Lowes. About a year ago, they added Ed Lynch. Funeral homes are a family business for Lynch as well, whose brothers and sisters own seven funeral homes in his home state of Michigan.
One of the unique services Lynch provides for Lowe-Neddo is working with families to design monuments. “There aren’t very many people in Charlotte who do monuments,” says Julie. “We partner with Gaulden Monuments; they’re closer to uptown, so it’s a bit of a drive for people.” With Lynch’s help, Julie is proud to be able to offer a service that might not otherwise be accessible to Mint Hill families.
Another unique service Lowe-Neddo provides for the community is pre-planning lunches. “There are people out there that have a lot of questions, and it’s like they’re afraid to ask them,” says Julie, who compares planning a funeral to planning a wedding, but much faster. “People are often in a rush,” says Julie. “That’s not the time to making all these decisions. You can make mistakes, you can overpay.”
The Neddos pride themselves on getting to know families and providing a personalized experience for their customers. “If people want to play Elvis throughout the building for a service because their dad loved Elvis, go for it!” says Julie. “We try and personalize it. They’re not just numbers to us, they’re not just another family.”
Lowe-Neddo’s thoughtfully composed obituaries, written by Michael, also set them apart. “His obituaries try and capture the person,” says Julie. “It’s not just ‘So-and-so was born, here are the living relatives, here’s how he died.’” Julie recalls her own aunt’s obituary, which listed mainly statistical information like where she lived, where she died and her surviving relatives. “That’s great,” says Julie, “ but she was just a beautiful spirit inside and out, great with kids, happy, loving, really involved in her church – that’s the stuff that should be in obituaries. I think people can do better.”
It’s also important to the Neddos that they provide quality services to families at a reasonable price. When they first purchased the funeral home five years ago, they offered various funeral packages, but they found that the packages always seem to include things that people didn’t need. “Corporates can be so expensive,” says Julie, referring to an article published in the Charlotte Observer a few years ago identifying Charlotte as one of the most expensive places to be buried. Lowe-Neddo’s small size allows them to provide a more personalized experience at a lower price. “We don’t have all this overhead, it’s just us,” says Julie. “We try to give people what they want. We don’t charge them for what they don’t need.”
The Neddos are currently looking for another facility for their funeral home, but they don’t necessarily want to go bigger. “We need to find the right facility,” says Julie. Residents of Stallings with children at Queen’s Grant Community School, the Neddos ideally would like to move to a different area of Mint Hill.
Although it might sound strange to say you enjoy funeral planning, Julie and Michael truly consider their work a calling. “It’s the notes, the little things after the service that make it worthwhile” says Julie, “Michael loves taking care of people at such a horrible time in their lives.”
The next “Lunch & Learn” at Lowe-Neddo will be held on November 9.