Journal of the Funeral Profession

Southern Calls is a reflection of the funeral profession in the South – the comforting voice of those who have embraced its rich traditions, a collection of compelling stories and striking photographs, revealing the heart and soul of our profession. The People, Places and their Passions will always be the mainstay of our editorial content.

Mike Squires

CFSP, CCO Editor/Publisher

Sometimes you just know… Sept. 13, 1962, was one of those times. My dad, 51, had been dead for only a couple of hours. Mr. Heyward Goldfinch, our funeral director, was sitting at our kitchen table. His soft-spoken voice, the compassion, his very presence stirred in me something beyond my dad’s death. I was 14.

Three years later, I was working for Mr. Goldfinch during the summer. Walking together from a small church cemetery, just before we reached the hearse, he turned and said, “Mike, why don’t you drive us back to the funeral home.” That was the first time I drove a hearse, and, from that day forward, there was no doubt why I was born.

My career in funeral service has spanned five decades, from the earliest days at a funeral home in rural South Carolina to managing South Carolina’s state association for 19 years and serving as editor of its trade publications. In between, I served families at McEwen Funeral Service in Charlotte – one of the largest firms in North Carolina – and was vice president and general manager of Wilson Funeral Service, also in Charlotte.

This incredible journey and lifelong learning experience have given me the opportunity to share with you my passion – Southern Calls.

Alice Adams

Associate Editor/Staff Writer

Throughout my life, I have continued my insatiable curiosity about people, places, cultures and customs, which served me well when I was hired by SCI in 1989. During my tenure, I had the opportunity to meet, know and learn from some of the greatest funeral directors of that time and some of the best people I have ever known. Now, nearly three decades later, I cherish the opportunity to educate the public about a profession that, until now, has been invisible in our society’s history.

Luke Teague

Associate Editor Luke Teague resides in Augusta, Georgia with his wife, Caroline. He grew up in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree. Initially, Luke worked as a radio news anchor and deejay, but was always curious about the folks who wore sharp suits and drove the biggest Cadillacs in town. He began his apprenticeship at Lord and Stephens Funeral Home in Athens before moving to Augusta. Luke has worked at Thomas Poteet and Son Funeral Directors for the last seven years as a funeral director and embalmer. Luke serves as Associate Editor and Staff Writer at Southern Calls, where he has had the privilege to interview so many fascinating funeral directors.

Todd Harra

Associate Editor

Todd is a fourth generation undertaker who works for the family business, McCrery & Harra, in Wilmington, Delaware, an independent funeral home since 1911. His great-great-great grandfather was a cabinet maker and tradesman undertaker in Milford, Delaware prior to the Civil War.

Todd is a graduate of the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service and received certification in Advanced Post Mortem Reconstruction from the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills. He is a Certified Crematory Operator and sits on the board of the Delaware State Funeral Directors Association.

Todd is the author of four books and is working on another due out in the winter of 2022.


Chris Griffin

Art Director

I was born a Tarheel but have made Charleston home for the past 20 years. Art, music/guitar, dogs and the great outdoors are my passions. I started my first business only 4 years out of college and love the freedom and opportunity of creating my own path. I have been fortunate to associate with a couple of talented and like-minded business partners at Click and we are blessed with a wonderful variety of clients including Mike Squires.

I am the art director for Southern Calls magazine and count myself fortunate for time spent and knowledge learned from working with Mike. I have immense respect for funeral professionals and their desire and ability to selflessly serve others.

Recent Articles

Issue 40 Available Now!

Issue 40 Available Now!

Southern Calls Issue 40 begins with an interesting dive into the dual careers of Jack Lechner and his lifetime of service, both military and funeral. Our Places article continues the theme of service with Powles Staton Funeral Home and their Veterans Honor Guard...

read more
Issue 39 Available Now!

Issue 39 Available Now!

Southern Calls Issue 39 brings you stories from across the country with a brilliant, young Tennessee professional navigating career changes with ease; an historic and classically beautiful California funeral home and gardens that serves the Asian and Hispanic...

read more
After Life Mortuary Services

After Life Mortuary Services

The year is 1961. The Soviet Union has just successfully put Yuri Gagarin into space—and brought him home again. The Soviets are winning the space race. President John F. Kennedy immediately begins exploring ideas to re-take the lead, settling on reaching the moon....

read more

The Magazine