A new look and added convenience are provided at Waller Funeral Home with the addition of a new portico and parking lot. Improvements inside are still underway.
Life is full of choices. Some are trivial—black or blue suit? coffee black or with cream? white or red car? fries with that? etc. Other choices are profound—occupation, location, religion, friends, attitudes, etc. Often our larger choices predetermine our choices of lesser importance.
We made the choice to enter funeral service for various reasons. After many years of employment outside the home ending with losing reelection as Chancery Clerk, Patsy was looking for satisfying work for her personal fulfillment and to supplement the ever-fluctuating income from the family fanning which Don loved. When the idea of establishing a funeral home arose, we both felt this was an opportunity for not only gainful employment but also a calling in which we could offer compassionate, Christian service to friends and neighbors in our community.
Waller Funeral Home was designed and furnished to provide physical and spiritual comfort for the bereaved, their families and friends. We based our funeral service on the concept of our family serving your family with compassion, commitment, and professionalism. We strive to provide to others the kind of service we would like provided to our own family. With continuing dedication to these principles, we have now served this community for more than twenty-five years. We are satisfied we made the right decision when we accepted the challenge to enter funeral service.
The funeral home we built in 1977 was appropriate to the need we perceived at that time. Truly, for many months—years even—we thought we had way overbuilt. The performance and tradition of the Douglass-Elliott-Overstreet succession in funeral home service was respected, admired, and hard to break into. Only when we were able to purchase that business in 1983 did we begin to justify our existence. As the years have passed, we have tried to maintain, adjust, and extend our facilities to provide the best service we can to the families we serve.
A recent example of our commitment is the new parking lot. The parking lot we had was almost always adequate. Occasionally, however, more space was needed. When the parking lot was filled, the other choices were inconvenient and/or unsafe—the shoulder of Highway 6 West was not acceptable. So we invested a considerable amount (Don says "an arm and a leg") for the dirt work to fill the big gully in the adjacent lot and the paving done to provide 54 new parking spaces and adequate lighting and a handicap ramp connecting the two parking lots.
Another example of our commitment is the new portico. We saw the need for a large covered space at the front of the funeral home for those who require assistance entering and exiting their vehicles and to give shelter for all visitors in times of inclement weather. Again, we decided to pay the cost and to undergo the inconvenience that building of this type requires. (We are grateful to families served during this construction who also experienced some inconveniences.) This improvement was not essential but it is an enhancement we wanted to provide.
We are now doing some inside work. The restrooms were small; especially at the time of a last-minute rush before a funeral service, more facilities were needed. So again we committed to this improvement. We are also providing a room and equipment to occupy the children who come with their families to the funeral home.
In spite of the major improvements made recently—the parking lot, portico, and inside changes and addition—the prices of funerals remain the same. We have always included improvements in our annual and long-term planning—routinely putting back into our facilities a significant amount of income from the operation.
Through the years we have given constant attention to maintaining a clean, pleasingly furnished and accessorized setting for families at the funeral home. We have also taken pride in providing a high quality of up-to-date vehicles for those we serve. We have kept available an up-to-date line of burial merchandise, being careful to provide choices in a wide price range. In 1987 we purchased the Eastover Memorial Cemetery to provide an attractive alternative to the Oxford cemeteries. We have added a line of distinguished monuments.
Adequate and qualified staffing has been a concern. With the nature of funeral service, staffing can be problematic. At times we need twice as many employees as we have; at other times we struggle to keep everyone constructively busy. Many of our staff members have been with us a long time (Bobby Phelps since the beginning in 1977; Trish Cousley, 1993; and Rocky Kennedy, 1999.) We consider this longevity indicates satisfaction on their part, and we know their experience is helpful in providing efficient, compassionate service. All staff members and owners are licensed: Patsy, Don, Bob, Beth, Bobby, and Rocky are licensed funeral directors; Bob, Bobby and Rocky are also licensed morticians; Bobby, Trish, and Larry are licensed insurance agents. All the licenses require specific, extensive training and successful testing.
Bob and Beth have been heavily involved in professional activities, attending workshops and conferences to keep current on funeral practices. Bob has earned designation from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (2001) and of Certified Preplanning Consultant (2001); he served as President of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association (2002); and he was named Mississippi Funeral Director of the Year by the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association (2002).
At the same time we have been concerned with our professional facilities and services, we have been committed to participating in community service projects such as the fundraising balloon release for the World War II memorial, the September 11 anniversary observance, and the Christmas tree service. We communicate regularly with the community through this quarterly newsletter. We feel the obligation and the desire to be involved in the progress and welfare of our great community.
To help us evaluate (and thus improve) in the areas of education, compassionate service, technical skills, community and professional service, library or media resources, professional development, in-house staff training, and public and community relations, we undertook and were awarded the 2002 National Funeral Directors Association Pursult of Excellence Eagle Award. Only 125 funeral homes in the United States qualified for this award.
All of this is to say, we at Waller Funeral Home strive to provide the best possible funeral facilities and service. Admittedly, such careful attention to attractive, comfortable facilities and dedication to professional, compassionate service may cost the families we serve more than the minimum we could provide; but we take pride in our place and our work. We believe we have made the right choice by committing to this superior standard.
Don, Patsy, Bob and Beth
Clear Creek scavenger hunters through the years have often started —and sometimes finished—their lists at our house. I have earned a reputation in the family and community for having a wide selection of "stuff." Let me tell you about some of my stuff.
I have every stuffed animal my children ever had—even those which were left out in the rain and mud—and most of their other toys. The girls’ book shelves overflow to storage boxes under the beds with high school and college mementos.
Andy’s bookcase still has: a small sign expressing his teenage sentiments; whittling from whatever was handy; an interesting rock about 12 inches long and 4 or 5 inches around with a hole running through it; a World War I army helmet; civil air patrol uniforms; many special issues of magazines and newspapers; an assortment of books including a Hardy Boys collection and Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. A Narrative Encyclopedia of Famous Criminals and Their Trials, reflecting his early interest in police and crime, sits next to his law enforcement textbooks.
When the great nieces come, they head upstairs for the doll bunk beds and twin dolls, each with their little suitcase of fashionable stuff, and the Barbie doll dreamhouse.
Clothes with special meaning are hard for me to part with. When we built the playhouse, I had clothes rods installed for favorite clothes of several eras. I have the girls’ last Easter bonnets and little knit gloves and some of their last "little girl" dresses.
When Trish Cousley’s son needed a late-50’s-early-60’s suit, Don had a lovely soft green polyester leisure suit from Duvall’s which served perfectly. The outfits each of our family wore to the various functions when Don’s brother Bill was inaugurated governor hang in the playhouse. I have Daddy’s favorite for-work sport coat and his last hat. I kept one of Mother’s last dresses and also one of Don’s mother’s.
At one time I had a 35-year collection of Reader’s Digests. Answering an ad I placed in the paper, a young man packed these up and took them from the big attic, leaving space for some more stuff.
I won’t leave out other folks’ stuff. About 1970 sister Ava asked if she could put some boxes in the big attic. They are still there, undisturbed, covered with a blue sheet.
Perhaps the most far-fetched stuff was left to Beth’s keeping (in the ‘70’s) when a college friend’s parents had her fly home to Seattle. It will be here when she comes to pick it up.
When Don and I married in 1952, every self-respecting housewife observed the ritual of spring house-
cleaning. Nothing was left undisturbed. It was all washed or aired. Closets were cleared and kitchen cabinets got new shelf paper. Clearing out stuff was the hardest part. Our unused stuff was taken to the smokehouse, which was a stopping off place for things not good enough to use but too good to throw away. Of course the smokehouse too had to be dug through periodically, discarding the oldest stuff to make room for more recent stuff brought from the house. Now we have a wonderful attic.
When Ava and I emptied Daddy’s house in 1969, we kept much of his and mother’s stuff. Much of this was small keepsakes of Mother’s and Daddy’s families neatly packed in boxes. Too, we had keepsakes from my brother Jim’s life. In self defense, to my family I have written on many things, "Ava promised
to take this."
I worry that I spend too much time with my stuff. The stuff I treasure most does not have much monetary value but much sentimental value. It reminds me of treasured days and people in the past, and I add meaningful keepsakes of present days. I pray forgiveness if I am too much concerned with all this stuff and let opportunities for accumulating treasures in heaven pass me by.
Coming Soon: Special Days for Special People Mother’s Day,
May 11; Father’s Day, June 15
"HAPPY FATHER’S DAY"
The paper is faded and the edges are crinkled, but you can still read the words scrawled on the construction-paper card. They say, "World's Best Dad." If you are a dad, you probably have a similar card made by your son or daughter as a special gift just for you on Father’s Day. Your card may be old and faded like the one on my husband’s desk, or it may be a recent addition to your collection of keepsakes. Either way, that card is one of the most valuable gifts you have ever received. Its value does not lie in its monetary value—after all, construction paper is cheap. That card is valuable because of the sincere love and devotion with which it was given.
If you are reading this, you are probably too old to make a construction-paper card for your father this Father’s Day. However, you are never too old to express to him your sincere love and devotion. There is no age limit on "honoring your father and mother" (see Deut. 5:16). As an adult, you may feel uncomfortable expressing the same kind of love and devotion to your father that you expressed when you made that first card. However, your words of thanks, appreciation, and understanding will be as valuable to your father now as that old card.
Father’s Day is a day to honor your father. Honor him this year with more than a token "Happy Father’s Day." Take the time to have a real conversation. Thank him for the things he has done for you. Use specific examples.
And while you’re at it, take time to honor your Father in heaven. Claim God’s promise found in 2 Corinthians 6:18: "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty"(NlV).
— Vickie Knieriin
Church Bulletin Service
Clear Creek Baptist Church bulletin,
June 16, 3002
"HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY"
Patsy and Don Waller join Larry Woodward to promote continued emphasis on PrePlanning and to encourage investment in Forethought Life Insurance.
PREPLANNING: A THOUGHTFUL GIFT
Funerals can be a perfectly planned celebration of life, a reflection of the individual—the lives they touched, the way they spent their time, and even the music they loved.
Funeral services benefit the family in several ways. First, the funeral provides for the dignified care of the deceased. Also, the funeral process helps those who are left behind take the first step in overcoming grief. Further, the funeral brings together friends and relatives who can offer comfort and support at a time when it is needed most. That is why planning ahead is so important.
A family discussion of funeral planning, although sensitive, can be a very satisfying experience. It allows a time to share feelings and personal preferences about various aspects of funeral services. It provides an opportunity to put all affairs in order in a relaxed, unhurried way. Preplanning can give the peace of mind of knowing that everything has been taken care of. It greatly diminishes the burden for those who suffer the loss of a loved one. It ensures that family members will not be faced with the details, decisions, or the financial burden in a time of grief and emotional stress.
Preplanning provides many advantages, and it may be easier than you think. It takes only about an hour and simply involves documenting biographical information along with personal funeral service preferences of clergy, music, pallbearers, etc. A casket and an outer container are also selected at this time. Funding can be made through the newly offered Forethought Life Insurance that protects against future price changes and inflation. This program offers single-pay or multi-pay plans, whichever best suits your needs.
Please give this program careful consideration—a Preplanned Funeral could be the most thoughtful gift that you ever give to those you love best.
The best time to Preplan is now. For appointments or more information, call Larry Woodward, our licensed, full-time Preplanning Counselor, at 234-7971.
NEW SERVICES OFFERED
Families sometimes ask if we provide transportation for them from the funeral service to the cemetery. Previously a vehicle was available for the pallbearers only. We have recently purchased a Lincoln Navigator to assist in family transportation and with other transportation needs.
With a new computer program we have purchased, we are now offering families choices for the memorial folders available for pick-up by visitors at the funeral home register. Traditionally, all folders have had a praying Jesus on the cover and the words of the 23rd Psalm inside. Now, if a photograph of the deceased is furnished on a timely basis, we can use that likeness on the outside of the folder. Also, a favorite scripture, poem, or other selection can be used inside the folder. Examples of choices, available at no charge, are now shown to families when first contact is made after a death.
We are now able to make printed programs of the order of service for funerals held either at the funeral home or in a church. Some churches provide these, but now we will prepare them at the funeral home (with no charge) if requested.
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from February 5, 2003, through April 22, 2003.
Mrs. Bessie Pearl Sandefer James / February 5, 2003
Mr. Henry Norfleet Moore / February 5, 2003
Mrs. Ann Cain Byars / February 6, 2003
Mr. Oliver A. Shaw / February 7, 2003
Mrs. Loudell Garrison Denton / February 10, 2003
Mr. Charles William McGonagill / February 21, 2003
Mr. Roy Elgin Ramsey / February 21, 2003
Mr. Charles Prescott Bryan / February 25, 2003
Mr. Ralph Laurance Crafton / February 25, 2003
Mrs. Ludell Bland Busby / February 25, 2003
Janna Claire Boykin / February 25, 2003
Mrs. Mary Kathyrn Huey Milhouse / February 26, 2003
Mrs. Shirley Fay Daniels / February 27, 2003
Mrs. Mary Agnes Gatewood Fletcher / February 27, 2003
Mr. Oran Eugene Pritchard / March 4, 2003
Mrs. Lou Ella Garrett Byers / March 7, 2003
Mr. Odis H. Taylor / March 15, 2003
Mrs. Norma Jean Fooshee Aron / March 17, 2003
Mr. Charles E. Boyd / March 17, 2003
Mrs. Judith Ann "Judy" Baker / March 19, 2003
Mr. Jerry Ervin Camp / March 24, 2003
Mr. D.C. King / March 26, 2003
Dr. Leland Frederic Roy / March 30, 2003
John Walter Dennis / April 1, 2003
Mr. David Eugene Lindsey / April 4, 2003
Mrs. Maryelise Hawkins Harrell / April 5, 2003
Mrs. Cookie Mayfield Metts / April 16, 2003
Mr. Walter Howard "Red" McCarver / April 19, 2003
Mr. Jake Edward Norwood / April 22, 2003