Article Category: Passions | Pillars | SC36
Dana Taylor and Madeline Lyles

After Life Mortuary Services

Posted Wednesday, Dec 28
Written by Todd Harra, CFSP
Southern Calls, Vol. 36, June 2022

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. George Bundy, national security advisor, tells Kennedy, “Going to the moon, it’s a grandstand ploy.”

To which Kennedy replies, “You don’t run for president in your forties if you don’t have moxie.”

On May 25th, before a joint session of Congress, President Kennedy announces the goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

Meet Madeline Lyles and Dana Taylor, two funeral directors who are also shooting for the moon, and definitely have more than a bit of moxie. Given their robust social media presence, most readers are likely already familiar with the entrepreneurial duo, their colorful photos of their business and snappy educational videos promoting Frigid Products. If not, I’ll introduce you: Lyles and Taylor hold the distinction of opening the first all-female owned and operated funeral establishment in Memphis, Tennessee, After Life Mortuary Services.  #womenentrepreneurs

A Daily Routine - Dana and Madeline
A Daily Routine – Dana and Madeline

Lyles and Taylor met in 2009 as autopsy technicians working at the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center, a facility that covers fifteen counties in Tennessee and handles thousands of cases each year. Taylor left after a couple of years, but Lyles stayed another five. At the end of 2016, Lyles decided to go into business for herself as a trade embalmer, “And the Lord told me to go get Dana.” She did, and when the duo reviewed their business plan it made more sense to them to open a full service funeral home rather than a trade embalming service. At the time Lyles was a trade embalmer for twelve different funeral establishments in Tennessee and Arkansas. “We didn’t like the disconnect between families and funeral homes,” she says, speaking to what she perceived to be a lack of public education on funeral service. “We wanted to re-establish trust.” 

The name for their business came from Lyles reading the Bible. A passage from Matthew 19:21 jumped out at her, where Jesus instructs his followers to sell what they have and give it to the poor, in biblical terms: alms. This spoke to Lyles as they envisioned a company providing for those in need. ALMS, or After Life Mortuary Service was founded on October 8, 2018.

The remainder of this article is reserved for subscribers only

In addition to receiving all of our quarterly magazines by mail, subscribers to Southern Calls have exclusive access to additional online articles, as well as ability to read all Southern Calls magazine articles as they come available.

Get your One Year or Two Year subscription today, or login here to continue viewing the rest of the article. 

Other Recent Articles

Snyder Funeral Homes

Snyder Funeral Homes

More than 100 years ago, Ora O. Snyder worked as a horse keeper for undertaking establishments. Known as Orrie to friends and colleagues, his early exposure to funeral service consisted of accompanying the local undertaker into the family home instead of waiting...

read more
Mitchell’s Journey

Mitchell’s Journey

I drove by your building a hundred thousand times and never once noticed it. Why would I? Death is what happens to other people. And when you have young children, mortality is the last thing on your mind. Instead, we're focused on young life and the promise of a...

read more
Issue 38 Available Now!

Issue 38 Available Now!

Featuring our exclusive article with the staff from Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home on the tragedy at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, Southern Calls Issue 38 brings you the details from a funeral director's perspective. And, as always, our December issue of Southern...

read more
Issue 37 Available Now!

Issue 37 Available Now!

What a unique collection of articles we have put together for our September issue -- read about the extraordinary details of the life and death of the world famous P.T. Barnum and his friend and performer General Tom Thumb, with lots of interesting facts and images...

read more
Jim Kurtz

Jim Kurtz

We probably have never met, but you may have seen me before. I was that little guy watching funerals from the steps of the Catholic school across the street from Galloway & Sons Funeral Home in Beeville, Texas. I especially loved seeing the big cars that led the...

read more
Bibber Memorial Chapel

Bibber Memorial Chapel

The air smells briny and gulls caw overhead. In the distance, against the backdrop of an iron-colored horizon, a few hearty lobstermen trawl the sea, braving the frigid temperatures. It’s snowing again, but that’s not newsworthy. It’s winter in Maine. Three miles up...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine