Now & Then Volume 1, 2023 | Page 20

Photos by Maxwell Thomason
rings , you just go .
“ It ’ s not an 8-5 job . Knowing that when we got married , and when Lisa and I started having kids , she ’ s become a stay-athome mom as well .”
As for Reece III , well , he wasn ’ t totally sold on becoming a funeral director . The lineage almost stopped with him , and he believes , just as it was previously , “ there was never the guilt or the expectation from the previous generation that the next one would come back to this .”
“ I had a business management degree , had an opportunity to intern with the Walmart management program ,” said Reece III , who became the funeral home owner in 2005 . “ They offered me a job before I ever graduated from college and I worked for Walmart for a year ,
in five different locations , setting up a couple stores . It was moving quickly , which was great .
“ I learned a lot , but it showed me that ’ s not where I wanted to be , and that was a big difference ,” he said . “ So after the last move , I knew I didn ’ t want to stay . I called my dad up and said , ‘ I want to go look at mortuary colleges .’ He said , ‘ Open the car , let ’ s go .’ They never encouraged me to do this , but they wanted to make sure I could make that decision for myself .”
Reece III does believe he made the right move . It was something he grew up around and was familiar with .
“ When you see something that benefits others , something your parents do that helps others and makes a profound
difference ,” he said , “ I ’ m very fortunate . These people are not just our neighbors , but they ’ re our family as well .”
As for his own kids , who are in fourth and sixth grade , Reece III doesn ’ t know if running the funeral home will be in their future , but it will be their decision to make .
“ They have no idea what they want ,” he chuckled . “ The truth is we want them to do whatever they want , just like our parents and our grandparents have done for us . We want them to be able to decide and encourage them to be who they are in life , and not depend on what we ’ ve done . Who they are as individuals will give them a very good basis .”
That said , both Carroll Reece and William Reece worked into their 70s . However , working
in the funeral business isn ’ t for everyone , especially with the sorrow involved on a daily basis .
“ You have to be motivated for the right reasons , and if it ’ s something worth doing , it ’ s probably hard ,” Reece III said . “ Caring for individuals at a very difficult time in their lives is not easy , but it ’ s extremely rewarding to be able to help someone when they need it most . And we get a chance to realize that .
“ And in a way , all of this corresponds with our faith ,” he said . “ Some people go to church only on Sundays . We get to hear a funeral service , and a sermon from a minister in different denominations , different ministers all the time . What a great way to really embrace our faith in what we do professionally .”
20 Now & Then