His job is to care for the dead and their families.
Last week Taupō funeral director Barry McIntosh was honoured for giving 40 years of service at the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand conference.
He says the funeral business is very much a people person profession.
"It's connecting with people unconditionally. That's what makes a funeral a success."
Five years ago Barry was recognised for 35 years' service and when asked what had changed in the industry, he said fundamentally things were still the same as when he started out.
"Technology has been a big change. But what's more important to me is what hasn't changed, and that is the care for the deceased and their family."
Over the years he has learnt to deal with grieving people by finding a balance between empathy and sympathy.
"To live in sympathy is not to cope as a human being. If I cried at work for everyone that died then it would be a lifetime of crying."
Burying people he knows is hard and Barry says his faith allows him to do the best for each person.
"My philosophy of 'belief without proof' allows me to cope."
For the past 16 years Barry has also led New Zealand's peer support team for the funeral industry, a mentoring service for funeral directors and those involved with preparing the bodies, embalmers, funeral celebrants, the funeral staff whose job it is to advise bereaved people about funeral arrangements, and crematorium workers.
A career highlight was developing a day-long training programme for those in the funeral industry, called 'Who Cares For the Carer?'.
"The programme is about how staff at funeral homes can keep themselves balanced, emotionally, spiritually and mentally."
Barry led a peer support team of four in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, providing support to funeral directors and their families. A 44-strong team of funeral directors and embalming staff were in Canterbury to care for the deceased and their families.
"I jumped in on that. For five or six weeks we had daily contact with 600 or so people who were the families and kids of the funeral staff."
He has also served the Taupō community in a counselling role. A founding trustee of ARC Counselling service, Barry is an active member of the Wednesday gambling addiction recovery group sessions.
"I'm out there with the tough nuts. They see me at Grandma's funeral and they see me at recovery and they know I am a down to earth person who cares."
Barry's parents Graeme and Ngaire McIntosh bought Taupō Funeral Services in 1979 and he began his career in Whanganui in 1981 at Dempsey & Forrest Funeral Directors.
"I had a lot to do with the Ratana Church and there was a good focus on Māori culture."
By 1983 he was back working with his parents at Taupō Funeral Services, with the business located on Titiraupenga St, where the Prince Motor Lodge is now located.
Taupō Funeral Services moved to its current premises on Rickit St in 1996 and is now owned by Barry and his wife Kirstine. These days Graeme and Ngaire are retired but still have an involvement in the business. Graeme helps out with the legal documents and long-distance driving, and Ngaire is involved with funeral reception arrangements.
Graeme is due to be presented with his 50 years' service award later this year.
"The three of us worked hard to get to where we are today. We always try to include Graeme and Ngaire in the company," says Barry.
Looking back on his 40 years as a funeral director, Barry says he feels privileged to have spent his working career playing a role at what is such a special occasion for Taupō families.
"To have met such lovely people, often under sad and tragic circumstances, but to have gained friends from so many, is truly an honour."