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Berry-Bell & Hall Mortuary provides personal, compassionate service


Last updated 4/1/2022 at 2:47pm

Staff members at Berry-Bell & Hall Mortuary are, from left, Tom Frank, Jeffrey Bartholome, Lynn Newcomb, RoseMarie Peralta, Steve McGargill, and Terry DeHaan. Not pictured: Scott McGargill. Village News/Rick Monroe photo

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

As owners/managers of Berry-Bell & Hall Mortuary, brothers Steve and Scott McGargill are used to working with families who have funeral decisions to make. It's an emotional time and they, along with their staff, are sensitive to the needs of families.

"I feel we're a comforting place, dealing with the uncomfortable situation of dealing with losing a loved one," said Steve McGargill, the older brother. "We aren't bereavement counselors, we can offer referrals for that need, but we treat people with compassion."

When you enter the lobby area there is a peaceful feeling with friendly framed photos including one of the building from sometime in the middle of the previous century. There is also a chapel for memorial services, though many clients choose another venue such as a local church.

Steve McGargill said the entire staff of six full-time and three part-time employees take care in providing answers during a stressful time.

"Our goal is to serve every family as if they were our own family," he said, "honoring and respecting those who die is also taking care of those who live. Our goal is to produce five-star service for the families we serve for many years to come."

Berry-Bell & Hall Mortuary is a family business, with the brothers sharing management responsibilities. Their parents are also part-owners. They purchased the business in December 2001, so they are beginning their 31st year of ownership.

Since it was an essential service, they didn't close during the pandemic. The number of deaths increased, but there were no memorial services. Steve McGargill said that December 2021 and January 2022 were their most busy months.

Pre-need planning is an important aspect of the business. By anticipating their customers' needs, he said they can provide a service personalized for each one of them. The staff is ready to help residents now and in the future with their funeral arrangements from start to finish.

While some people may not want to think about the end of their lives, for those who like to plan ahead the McGargills and their staff can help with the planning of all aspects of one's future funeral and burial needs. About a third of their customers pre-plan their end of life services, according to Steve McGargill. Most of the people who preplan are above the age of 60, but it is never too early to make those arrangements.

Steve McGargill said that one of the reasons for preplanning funeral and burial arrangements is that "it allows you, yourself, the opportunity to determine exactly what type of final disposition you want. It allows you to put it down in writing, and pre-pay for your arrangements, so there are no questions as to your final wishes.

"Probably the most important reason people want to preplan, is that they want to save their children or family the burden of trying to make these decisions and pay for it at the time."

Many people find it difficult to handle the details of a loved one's funeral and burial, even with the help of a caring funeral director, so planning ahead can lessen the stress for everyone involved. The McGargills offer many options for those people who want to work out the details to their own satisfaction before they die and be assured that their plans will be carried out as they planned.

"People can come in and get all of their plans, no matter how simple or detailed, written down on paper, without prepaying anything at all," Scott McGargill said. "They can come in and prepay for just a portion of the arrangements now, with the balance being due upon death, from their family. Or they can pay for everything in full. Whatever they wish to do, we will try to accommodate them."

The process can also be started by filling out a form on their website,, where more information can be found.

The mortuary can also handle the submission of an obituary to local papers as well as all options pertaining to military veterans including paperwork with the Veterans Affairs, setting up military honors and burial at a national cemetery. They will also help with applying for any applicable government reimbursements for veterans.

Berry-Bell & Hall Fallbrook Mortuary is located at 333 N. Vine St. For more information, call (760) 728-1689, email [email protected], or visit


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