BY MELANIE WADE –
For the first time in more than 40 years, Beasley Wood Funeral Home is completely locally hometown family owned. As of September 1, 2017, Sonja Kesterson is the official owner after working in every position, with the exception of embalmer, for 24 years.
Kesterson, along with her family, are lifelong residents of Polk County. She began her career with Beasley-Wood in 1993 when she began entering records onto a computer database. Over the years, Kesterson has performed every job at the funeral home and became manager in 2013.
She is a licensed Funeral Director and believes her role in helping families in their worst of times is what is most fulfilling about her job. “We see people in their saddest moments,” said Kesterson. “But, it’s rewarding when people say we make things easier for them in the worst of times. I take pride in myself and my team that we feel that we are able to comfort them.
Kesterson said there are several changes she wants to make but they are future goals which will take time. She does want to put an emphasis on pre-planned services so that families are more prepared when a loved one passes. “It’s such a hardship for the families because it’s an unexpected expense and adds a financial burden in an already difficult time.” Kesterson added that families of those who have pre-planned are much more at ease.
Mostly, she and her team want to continue to serve the families of Polk County as Beasley Wood has done since opening in 1928. It is her goal to bring back the feeling of families helping families and for the people to think of Beasley-Wood as “their funeral home”.
Her staff of longtime employees will remain the same, whom she says she couldn’t do this venture without. They include: Allen Walker, Head Embalmer/Director; Josh Risman, Funeral Director; Cezar Loayza, Funeral Assistant; Kelly Crawford, Bookkeeper; and Sharon Fairless, Receptionist. Evening reception consist of Vicki Agee, Ginger Jones, Mary Page, and Janice Key. “They are all invaluable in what they do,” said Kesterson.
To learn more about their services, you can visit them at 611 Janssen Avenue in Mena or phone 479-394-1310. To view obituaries visit www.beasleywoodfuneral.com