As he retires today, Bryson Price reflects on career, friends and family
By Bryson Price


Posted on April 30, 2022 7:32 PM



Bryson Price grew up in his family’s Price Funeral Home business in Lewisburg, and has been the owner/operator for decades. As of today, April 30, he and wife Susan are retiring. A member of the fourth generation of Prices, Courtney Cropper McCormick and her husband Will and partners Jason and Rhetta Rolley become the owners tomorrow.

I have nearly 60 years of thank you’s on my mind and in my heart today. After 42 years in funeral service, today is my last day at work. Tomorrow, I will be retired. You may still see me occasionally at the funeral home as a fill-in when they need extra help. Most every one of you will fall into at least one of the categories I’m going to list. There are a few people I had to single out and others I would have liked to name, but knew I’d later regret leaving some people out.

I begin by thanking our community for your love and support of my family for the past 74 years. Without your support, my grandparents’ dream of providing funeral service here would have ended as only a dream. My entire family will be forever grateful for your friendships, love and kindness.

I’m thankful for the many friendships I’ve had through the years. Some of you I may only see occasionally while others have become extended family, but each of you is a piece of the puzzle of my life and I cherish each of you dearly.

I’m thankful for all my school teachers, from first grade through mortuary college. It’s the knowledge you shared with me that gave me the foundation to obtain any successes I’ve had in life. Bob Birdwhistell and Joe Bailey even worked for our funeral home and became two of my closest friends.

I’m thankful for my grandparents, Ryan and Dorothy, and my parents, Buddy and Wanda Price, for paving the way for me to follow in their footsteps. The greatest people in the world to work with are family. The hardest people in the world to work with are family. For those who’ve worked with family, you’ll understand. For those who haven’t, there is no simple way to explain it. I could not have had better examples from which to learn the funeral industry.

I’m thankful for Susan’s family and my family. I’ll never forget my first Christmas Eve with Susan’s family. We had just arrived at her parent’s house when my grandmother called to tell me we had a death call in Morgantown. I told them not to wait on me because it would probably be at least three3 hours before I’d be back. When I returned, though, after taking care of my work duties, they had waited on my return before starting their festivities. I felt so bad because I knew the young children didn’t fully understand. Not the best first impression you want to have on your wife’s family.

My sister grew up in the business just like me so she knew what growing up in the funeral business was like. Fayetta’s family though has had to adapt to family gatherings being interrupted or postponed. Both of our families have been so understanding, supportive and loving through the years. For that, I’m forever grateful.

I’m so thankful for each family we’ve served over the last 74 years. You’ve entrusted the care of your loved ones to my family and our employees. You’ve shared your family memories with us as we’ve made funeral arrangements. Some of you I would have never had the opportunity to get to know and become friends with because our paths would have never crossed during life. Many of you have become lifelong friends. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together and we’ve prayed together while remembering the lives of those who meant so much to you. You each hold a special place within my heart.

I’m thankful for the local florists we’ve had the privilege of working with throughout the years. Each of you play an important part in the healing process of people dealing with grief. There is something special about a flower that brings comfort to us. It’s a reminder that others care about and love us.

I’m thankful for the many doctors and coroners that we’ve worked with through the years in filing death certificates. You’ve sometimes had to put a cause of death that the family may not want to see, but it’s been your duty to fill it out as accurately as possible.

I’m thankful for the cemetery personnel for the City of Russellville. I worked with Roland Cox and Kenny Gregory more than any of them, and our friendships grew over the years. I consider them both dear friends and brothers.

I’m thankful for the ministers we’ve worked with through the years. Many of them became dear friends and we’ve had many discussions in the office before a funeral or in the hearse on the way to the cemetery. You are my spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ.

I’m thankful for my colleagues. We’ve never looked at another funeral home as being a competitor. I’m very good friends with all the local funeral directors and many from around the state and throughout the United States. Locally, we’ve helped each other out on numerous occasions. We are each trying to serve the families who call on us to the best of our abilities. I wish the best for each of them. You, too, are professional brothers and sisters.

I’m thankful for our state (FDAK) and national (NFDA) funeral director associations. They each do so much for our industry. I was honored to serve for several years on our state board and as the state president. My name was also submitted to the Governor by our association, and I was appointed to serve a term on the State Licensing Board. Alan Leichhardt, Sidney Fogle and their staff through the years have been great friends and like family. At NFDA, I was privileged to serve three years on their policy board and on the membership committee for several years. Anna Bernfeld and Ruthann Johnson along with othervstaff members have been great resources and cherished friends.

I’m thankful for the companies and sales reps who’ve called on us through the years. Many of them have become lifelong friends and are so important in providing us with the products to best serve our families.

I’m thankful for the local news media who’ve helped us announce funeral arrangements in a timely manner. WRUS, the News-Democrat & Leader and The Logan Journal have been great to work with and have played such an important part in our communities.

I’m thankful for our gravediggers. The ones during my career have been Drexal, Jean and June Brown, Johnny and Jamie Brown, and Zach and Brandi Wilhite and each person who worked for them through the years. Drexal died not long after my career began, so Johnny and I grew up in this business together and were as close as brothers. He and I discussed many things about life, and his care and compassion to the families we served was top of the line. After Johnny’s untimely death, Zach has carried on the Brown family legacy and is doing an excellent job. Johnny would be so proud of Zach and Brandi. You all are extended family to us.

I’m thankful for Dwight, Linda, Josh, Brandon and Dusty Wooldridge and all the employees of Rose Hill and Wooldridge and Sons monuments. They have dug graves when Johnny and Zach needed a helping hand. They’ve also supplied our steel vaults for years. You all are extended family to us as well.

I’m thankful for all of our employees through the years. There are too many to list each one, and I’m afraid I might accidentally leave someone out. You’ve provided compassion and love to each family we served. What a pleasure it’s been to have you in our work family.

I’m thankful for Jason and Rhetta Rolley and Will and Courtney McCormick. As the new owners of Price Funeral Home, Inc., I look forward to seeing you carry on the traditions that my family started. Jason has been employed so long that he feels like family, and Will married into our family. I wish for you continued success.

I’m so thankful for Susan, Trevan and Trent. Being the wife and sons of a funeral director can be very difficult at times. Christmas mornings, birthdays, and other special occasions have been interrupted. Activities, vacations, and other plans have had to be postponed or canceled because of work. Sometimes other families had to come before my own. That’s the life of a funeral director that you accepted. I love each of you more than I could ever express.

Tomorrow may begin a new chapter in my life, but funeral service will always be a part of who I am. I believe with all my heart that funeral service is a form of ministry. I thank God for using my life to play a small part in it.

I’m truly a blessed man because of each of you.

 




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