BY MELANIE BUCK –
Beasley-Wood-Geyer-Quillin Funeral Home first opened its doors in 1928 and has served the families of Polk County ever since at their location on the corner of Janssen Avenue and 7th Street in Mena. Current manager, Sonja Kesterson, explained their history and how the business has idled through the ages to maintain their comfortable atmosphere in a trade that is filled with sadness.
Kesterson began her career with Beasley-Wood in 1993 where she began entering records onto a computer database. Over the years, Kesterson has performed several jobs at the funeral home but became manager in 2013. “It’s very rewarding to get people through the most difficult times. People are upset and at one of the worst moments of their life when they come here. It’s rewarding to get them through that time,” Kesterson said.
Beasley-Wood offers both traditional funeral services as well as cremation. They also offer cremation jewelry and fingerprint necklaces as keepsakes. A chapel is also onsite for services, when needed. “We also just installed a new audio and video system in our chapel,” said Kesterson.
Giving honor to all of their clients is close to the hearts of their staff and honoring veterans is especially rewarding. “We try to do what we can and what the military allows for us to do. Our local veterans services are great and help us out often with military honors. The VFW, DAV, Marine Corps League, American Legion, the Veteran’s Service Office and many other organizations all help us and we can not thank them enough,” Kesterson said.
She also said that she “couldn’t do what I do without the help of our staff.” Allen Walker is the head embalmer/director; Josh Risman, funeral director; David Norrid, funeral director/embalmer; Kelly Parker, funeral assistant; Kelly Crawford, bookkeeper; Sharon Fairless, receptionist; and Betty Robertson, assistant. Braxton Lance, Madison Pettigrew, and Garrett Smith all help on a part-time basis and night sitters are Vicki Agee, Ginger Jones, Mary Page, and Janice Key. “They are all invaluable in what they do.”
Crawford has been with Beasley-Wood for eleven years and said, “To serve people in their worst time and do it with as much grace and dignity in a professional yet personal way, is the best feeling.”
Kesterson also said the pastors, hospice nurses, and nursing home staffs are important to their job and can’t thank them enough for their cooperation during such difficult times. “This is the last thing that you do for your loved one. That’s why what we do is so important. We take it very personally and consider it a privilege.”
Located at 611 Janssen Avenue, they can also be reached by calling 479-394-1310. You can learn more about Beasley-Wood Funeral Home by visiting their newly designed website at www.beasleywoodfuneralhome.com