In response to a trend in how families arrange funerals, Tidd Funeral Home, an Old Hilliard landmark since 1981, is opening a new location on state Route 161, about two miles west of Cosgray Road and the city of Dublin.

The funeral home is set to open this fall at 9720 state Route 161 in Plain City at the former Carmel Christian Center, owner Rick Tidd said.

Although Tidd Funeral Home, 5265 Norwich St., has two other locations that operate under different names – Porter-Tidd Funeral Home in Mount Sterling and Rader-McDonald-Tidd Funeral Home in West Jefferson – the funeral home in Plain City will represent Tidd's first funeral-home start-up since its founding in 1981.

Opening a location to primarily serve Dublin and Plain City is not a new idea, Tidd said.

"It is something our family has thought about doing for 10 years," he said, and the pieces finally fell into place.

No additional sites are being considered, Tidd said.

The new location, at 10,000 square feet, is twice the size of the Norwich Street funeral home and will allow Tidd Funeral Home to provide the kind of services families are asking for, he said.

The location also more is convenient to Dublin families and addresses the general demand for services at all the Tidd funeral homes, Tidd said.

"So many people (from the Dublin area) come to us and this is our way of going to them," said Josh Tidd, Rick's son and also a licensed funeral director. "The new site also allows us to serve a new trend of fellowship and celebration (at funeral services)."

The new funeral home will be able to accommodate up to 300 people in the same room for a memorial service, but more importantly, Rick Tidd said, it will allow for the preparation and serving of "bereavement meals" to as many people under the same roof.

Each family grieves differently and has different preferences for funeral services, he said, but funerals are trending more toward celebrations of life.

While Old Hilliard has restaurants for such gatherings, having a reception hall at a funeral home provides families with convenience and flexibility, Rick Tidd said.

Tidd, 67, said he wanted to become a funeral director after as a child observing relatives' funerals in rural southern Ohio communities.

He recalled how he would watch a funeral director prepare a home for a funeral and console families in a time and place where funerals often were in a residence.

"I knew that is what I wanted to do," he said.

The 1970 graduate of Hilliard High School became an apprentice to Webster Junk, a former Norwich Township trustee who once owned a funeral home at the corner of Main and Madison streets.

He said he began working for Junk vacuuming carpets and detailing hearses before becoming a licensed funeral director.

Now, his family business includes his wife, Arlene, and their children, Josh and Shelly.

Shelly Baird, a 1994 Hilliard Davidson High School graduate, and Josh, a 2001 Davidson graduate, are among the six licensed funeral directors at Tidd Funeral Home.

The funeral home also has four full-time unlicensed staff members, including Arlene, and eight part-time unlicensed staff members.