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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Casket and Sunnyside - December, 1906 There are in Manila and vicinity some first class crematories erected on American designs and controlled by Americans. These crematories are utilized to burn the bodies of dead horses, dogs and other animals. The natives employed...
from Southern Calls Inaugural Issue - September, 2013 It was unusual, compared to most obituaries, because it ended with the following: "The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday at Christian-Sells Funeral Home in Rogersville. Funeral...
SEATED BURIAL CASKET, Patent No. 964439Application filed December 18, 1909, Patented July 12, 1910 To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, ANGELO RAFFAELE LERRO, a subject of the King of Italy, residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have invented certain...