It’s all about the B’s for our latest issue… from the small Southern town of Bremen, Georgia, to urban downtown Baltimore, Maryland and out to a cattle pasture in Brewton, Alabama we cover a broad range of People, Places, and Passions – and there’s even real Bees (see Passions article). The photos are compelling, the stories are moving, and they’re all told from a Funeral Director’s Perspective. There’s only one place you can find inspiration like this, Southern Calls – The Journal of the Funeral Profession.
PEOPLE By Luke Teague
The definition of professional success is subjective. For a funeral director, it might be determined by job security, salary or seniority. An owner, perhaps, could measure triumph by consecutive years in business, call volume or gross revenue. Patty Hutcheson, CFSP, executive director of the Academy of Funeral Service Practice, would credit her career accomplishments to the love and support of family, especially Danny, her devoted husband of 40 years. Since 1983, the couple has owned and operated Hutcheson’s Memorial Chapel and Crematory as she simultaneously served as a longtime instructor at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, subsequently becoming the institution’s first female president. However, the last two years have been challenging, a direct impact of the massive stroke Danny suffered at the funeral home.
“Live each day as if it were your last,” said Hutcheson, who celebrates continued blessings and praises and is forever thankful for God’s faithful presence during their journey of life and love.
PLACES By Todd Harra
When Joe Brown couldn’t secure financing during the recession to build a crematory, he leaned a ladder against the side of his funeral home and climbed onto the roof. Setting the choke on his chainsaw, he pulled the cord and plunged the blade into the roofing membrane to cut out the stack hole. Then, Joe rallied members of his community to help him finish installing a 15 ton newly purchased—and self-financed—B&L Phoenix II. That was 10 years ago, and just the beginning.
Completed in 2019, Joseph H. Brown, Jr. Funeral Home’s new $2 million dollar “Cremation Plaza” is changing the disposition paradigm in an urban area. The funeral home has served the community of Baltimore for four generations, and Joe Brown, the current steward of the business, is aggressively marketing cremation to the African American community with amazing results.
“I’ve taken cremation out of the garage,” Joe says. Read about Joe Brown’s 5,000 square foot crematorium in March’s issue of Southern Calls.
PASSIONS By Alice Adams
Passion is a deeply, overwhelming human emotion — so overwhelming, in fact, one must wait years before experiencing it for the first time. For Heath Wilson, owner and director at Craver’s Funeral Home in Brewton, Alabama, that overwhelming emotion — called passion — came earlier to him than most kids.
Growing up around grandparents who added emphasis to his DNA, Heath as a youngster cultivated a passion for the outdoors. Raised on the family farm, like the two generations before him, his developed a passion for growing gardens and living off the land. He was driving his first vehicles around the farm before he was 10 and learning cattle before he graduated from Brewton High School.
But his overarching passion for caring for his community and for funeral service came to him when, at a much younger age, as he held services and buried pets who died and dead animals he found. He pronounced eulogies, directed mourners. “It was a calling from God. I never questioned it. “I just knew.”
Little did the youngster realize his life’s path was already being planned for him at that early age. However, there also were surprises in store, some sweet as honey, others involving cattle auctions, rearing a family and becoming an important pillar of the community he has loved all his life.
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Southern Calls Issue 27
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