As you saw in Sunday’s Eagle, many of you here in the Brazos Valley took the time to select your favorites among businesses and business professionals. On May 28, when the “Top 3” favorites in each category were announced, it was an honor to be included in both categories.
Our entire Callaway-Jones team was excited that we were in your Top 3 for Favorite Funeral Home. Thank you for that special honor, and thank you also for placing me in the Top 3 Favorite Funeral Director. It meant so much to me, my wife, Chelsea, and mother, Lorene, two of my favorite advocates, for me to be included. Now, I’ve learned you chose me as your Favorite Funeral Director, and I’m so happy to know this.
Now, let’s face it, putting the words “favorite” and “Funeral Home Director” together in the same sentence…for any community except ours, I don’t think you have this area of competition. That’s why it is so special.
There’s no way I will take solo credit for this title, but instead I’m honored to share it with my entire team, because when you meet any member of our team, you’re meeting me, because we all work together as a single family. We all represent the family name and reputation that four generations before me worked to build. And, no one person is as caring or as helpful as “all of us.”
Fortunately for Bryan-College Station, Brenham, Bremond, Caldwell, Hearne, Madisonville, Navasota, and our closest neighbors here, you all have counted on Callaway-Jones to help you and your family through one of the hardest times of our lives. Instead of seeing this as a popularity contest, I view this as a giant vote of confidence in our family’s philosophy that has endured for five generations.
In reading the Readers’ Choice Awards insert in The Eagle on Sunday, publisher Crystal Duprè noted that there were 73,000 votes cast in over 150 categories. That’s amazing! And, it is important to remember that this is a regional newspaper, with readers, and Callaway-Jones families from across the Brazos Valley.
Eagle readers from at least 10 cities here pick up their papers each day and see the impact of our business. As I placed the most recent obituaries online at our web site callawayjones.com, I noticed the home cities of our most recent families who have entrusted their loved ones’ care to us. Y.
They include Navasota, Iola, Bryan, Burton, Bedias, Franklin, Huntsville, Brenham, Caldwell, College Station, and on farms in Robertson County outside city limits. This is the part of the Readers’ Choice Awards that is most humbling. Our family business is now highlighted as a part of your lives throughout these cities and counties—all in the Brazos Valley.
Family, as we so often think of it, is a group of relatives who share our same name and you can find one another on a genealogy chart or a simple family tree, perhaps sketched out in the front pages of a family Bible.
We grow up knowing parents who raise us, and they are our first family. If we have siblings, they are our next family. Then our grandparents on both sides, if they are still alive, are our next family layer. Then we grow up and go through life adding people into our world, our time, and most of all, our memories.
Many of you knew and know several generations of my family—my dad and mom, Mike Jones and Lorene Jones, and my grandfather and grandmother, Raymond Jones and Dian Jones, and I’m sure even more of you remember my great-grandmother Homer Lacy Callaway Jones, who was a licensed funeral director for over 50 years, but she was also a member of OPAS and the Business & Professional Women’s Association.
Family is not always defined by blood or DNA. The people we love as “extended family” are also “real” family to us, if everyone in your world sees your world as expanded and extended. At the times of great joy, such as the birth of a child, or the graduation of a young one, or even the marriage of relatives—together we gather to celebrate. We call people “Aunt” and “Uncle” because they are the best friends of our parents and family whom we would choose as “ours.” We claim them as ours.
And so, it is the same as in the process of death. We gather together, for visitation, to reflect and recall the best days of that person’s life. We greet our friends and relatives—extended family all—our family—to help us through the sorrow of loss and as we begin the process of grief. Every day when we receive your call, your family is reaching out to our family and I am honored when you choose us.
The honor of being selected as your Eagle Readers’ Choice Awards Favorite Funeral Director is essentially a big hug from our extended family. So, from our family to yours, thank you so much.
Cody D. Jones ‘02
Owner & Community Member