WAYNE Grigg was initially dead set against becoming a funeral arranger but he had a change of heart a few weeks later.
Twenty-five years on, he is still working for Guardian Funerals Minchinbury.
"I'd been a musician for 20 years and was also working at the Esso garage, down the road from here," the Erskine Park resident recalled.
"One of the guys who drove the hearses coming in for fuel offered me a job.
"I initially said no because of a fear of the unknown.
"I was overwhelmed about death the first few days but came to deal with it in my own way. It's enjoyable working here."
Mr Grigg estimates he's arranged 5000 funerals, including for the parents of murdered nurse Anita Cobby and Kiesha Weippeart's natural father Chris.
"It's mostly locals but I get referrals from across Sydney because I've been doing it for so long," he said.
"I have clients who come back because they feel comfortable dealing with me.
"Talking to people is paramount and you gauge every family differently."
Mr Grigg said the industry had changed "for the better" over the years.
Funeral services had also become more personalised.
"Amazing Grace has been done to death," Mr Grigg said.
"If a family has trouble finding a song, I suggest Gerry and the Pacemakers' You'll Never Walk Alone.
"What a Wonderful World is also popular.
"Attendance books were rare until the death of Princess Diana and are now very popular.
"We do a lot of DVD presentations and even record webcasts of services.
"The release of doves is common but butterflies are too difficult."
Mr Grigg's job helped him cope when his wife Annette lost her battle with cancer last year.
"I knew what was involved in organising the funeral, as did my wife," he said.
"Working has kept me sane and has been good therapy. If I were at home, I'd be a wreck."
Mr Grigg, 67, plans to retire in the next few years.
"I think I've still got a few more good years in me," he said.
"I want to leave with a good name, that people have fond memories of me, and be remembered as a good employee."