The complete interview originally appeared in the spring issue of OGR’s quarterly magazine The Independent.
J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home and Cremation Chapel is a family-owned and operated funeral home in Covington, GA with a reputation for providing compassionate services that truly honor the deceased. OGR’s Marketing & Communications Director Scott McClure recently sat down with owner Tommy Davis to discuss the importance of relationships and community at his funeral home.
Tell me a little bit about how your funeral home was founded and how it operates today.
“J.C. Harwell and Son Funeral Home was founded in the early 1890s near the Pennington and Broughton communities. Shortly thereafter, the funeral home moved to Mansfield, GA and then in the 1920s to just off the square in Covington. In 1943, the Harwell family purchased our current location, just three blocks from the downtown square.”
Why do you believe that funeral service is important?
“Funeral service is as vital to a community as any service offered. We are with families during the most difficult time in their lives. Funeral directors are in the relationship business. We become very close with those we serve and the friendships that are started during our service to them become those that last for decades and in our case centuries. Our motto, “Dependable Friends in Time of Need” was started over a century ago by our founders and still is practiced in our business every day.”
What is the most rewarding part of working in the funeral service industry?
“The feeling you get when a family looks at you and tells you how easy you made things. There is not a better feeling in the world than knowing that you were part of their healing process.”
In what ways do you use technology to further the services you offer?
“We have a large presence on Facebook along with our active website. I am amazed at the response we get from the community when we place our employee spotlights and other posts through Facebook. I will have people come up to me and tell me how much they like what we are doing or how connected they feel to us just through our social media.”
Is there anything in particular that you do at work to keep your spirits high or the spirits of your staff high?
“Be human. We all have good days and bad ones, but what we must remember is that we are all human and we often let the emotions of others change our day. I encourage staff to open up and let me know what they are thinking even when I may not want to hear it. I believe that to bottle up your emotions, hold things in, and take the troubles of your day home are truly roots of self-destruction in a job where emotions are highly visible and often pointed at the funeral director.”
What are three future goals that you have in mind for your funeral home?
• We will continue to change with the community and grow in the services we offer.
• We will increase our technology to make the generational challenges that are fast approaching easier on the next generation of funeral service shoppers.
• We will continue to grow in an ever-changing world never allowing the needs of our community to be more than we can meet.
Thanks to Tommy Davis of J.C. Harwell & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Chapel in Covington, GA for sharing his thoughts and for being a valued member of the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR).
OGR is a trade association for independently owned and operated funeral homes in North America and overseas. Interested in learning more about us? Visit www.ogr.org.