Thank You for Trusting Our Family for 5 Generations

GenerationsOUR PROUD HISTORY – OUR BRIGHT FUTURE

At Callaway-Jones, we’re proud of our family serving your family here in the Brazos Valley.

My father, Michael D. “Mike” Jones, was 24 when he took over the business from his father, Raymond C. Jones, a leader distinguished by more than 50 years working in the funeral business. It remained a family business then, not an industry, when Raymond, at age 24, took over the business from his parents, Homer Lacy Callaway Jones and Manley W. Jones.

I was 24 when my father died, and I began working with my grandfather until his passing, the third and fifth generations of the Callaway Jones family leading our family’s business together.

Today, we remain a family-owned business, not an industry. People helping people, caring for and about your loved ones first, best, for always. Thank you for your trust for 5 generations.  We’re still a local business, not an industry, and we always will be. You have our word.

Thank you for wanting to know more about the Callaway-Jones family— to start, despite the hyphen in our names, we’re all one family, not two different families co-owning a business together as some people have asked us before.

Original Callaway-Jones in Bryan, Texas
Original Callaway-Jones in Bryan, Texas

Our story begins with a life of hard work, dedication, faith, and community involvement; from generation then, to generation, each of these variables was passed forward to each of us. Live where you work, give back to the community where you live, and always know your clients are your greatest asset, and serving them is a privilege and an honor.

As the fifth generation member of the Callaway-Jones family, there’s so much to share about my ancestors and what living in Texas, and especially the Brazos Valley, has meant and means to me.

Knowing that when you see my picture, I may look a bit younger than you might have perceived what a “typical funeral director” looks like. You know the stereotype, right? Yet, we’ve never been “typical” about anything we do at Callaway-Jones. It’s not about age; it’s about commitment and dedication. We love life, we cherish life, and we enjoy life as part of who we are when we are not at work. At work, we respect the passing of a life, we prepare you and your family for the process of losing your loved one, and we walk alongside you, as your extended family throughout this time.

Throughout our business for caring for your loved ones, you may have seen vintage newspaper clippings and stories about our growth through the years here. And yes, you will see us smiling in pictures, not standing with somber looks on our faces.

To own and operate a funeral home is not only to have a service for others, but to be of service to others. Uniquely, but not surprisingly, with equality of devotion, caring and skill, both the husbands and the wives of the family have been an active and vital part of our family.

The lineage of the Callaway-Jones family began in Texas in 1904, when Mr. C. H. (Homer) Callaway began in Palestine, for Frank Bailey Furniture and Undertaking. Mr. Callaway’s father was a Methodist minister. That same year, Homer married Miss Sallye Rainey Lacy in Elkhart, Texas. Three years later, Mr. Callaway graduated from the Philadelphia School of Embalmers and became licensed as a Texas funeral director and embalmer in 1907.

Relocating to Crockett, Texas, in 1911, Homer and his wife Sallye, ultimately brought their three children to the site of where he would ultimately establish Callaway Furniture and Undertaking. Thinking about how many Texas women became early pacesetters in being a strong partner together in establishing and working to build businesses, Sallye also became a licensed funeral director and worked alongside her husband. Their first three children were two boys (Lester H. and Ramon W.), and a daughter (Homer Lacy).

Manley Sr. and son Raymond Jones
Manley Sr. and son Raymond Jones

As the business grew, Mr. C.H. Callaway established the Callaway Mortuary in Southeast Houston, in 1931. Son Lester, and daughter-in-law Mary Jess, both licensed funeral directors, managed this one. Second son Ramon, also a licensed funeral director, worked with Mr. C.H. Callaway in Crockett from 1931-1935, then moved to Houston and worked with his brother, Lester, there.

The first Callaway Funeral Home was begun in Houston County in 1932 by Mr. C. H. Callaway, and Mrs. Sallye Callaway was among the first female entrepreneurs in Texas. It was Sallye who opened the first floral shop in Crockett, Texas, seeing the need in the community and stepping up to fill it.

It’s not surprising that a family whose work was devoted to afterlife care of others would be instrumental in creating and establishing a formal burial association, again showing innovation and foresight at an early time in Texas Business. The association operated from 1930 until 1968, when it transitioned to the Callaway Life Insurance Company.

The first Texas A&M graduate in the family was C.H. and Sallye’s eldest son, Herbert, graduated as an Aggie in petroleum engineering, worked in the oil industry for a time, and married his bride, Kathryn Davis. Aggie education and training served Herbert well as he became a Major in the Army, having served as a Company Commander of an Infantry Unit in Europe. But by 1945, the family business was where Herbert wanted to be, and he earned his funeral director’s license that year and joined his father in business. We are now up to eight members of my family who are licensed funeral directors.

Sadly, it was 1947, when we lost my great-grandfather, C.H. Callaway; as you would expect, his widow Sallye, my great-grandmother would remain active in the business until her death in 1973.

There would be another female Callaway to formally enter the business as well. It was my dear great-grandmother, Homer Lacy Callaway, who married Manley C. Jones in Crockett. And it was in 1953 that Homer and Manley came to Bryan, Texas and cofounded the business you see on College Avenue, the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home. The building has remained as they built it for now 53 years.

We’ve been proud to be located in the true heart of Bryan-College Station, and we’re honored that our brand new building is located on the same property as we have not changed one iota from our family’s commitment to serving your family for over 50 years now. We have, however, changed with the times and the needs of our local area and Brazos Valley in increasing the size of our chapel, offering you tasteful, yet not opulent, surroundings that create a feeling of comfort from the moment you walk into our home. After all, the funeral business was begun in our homes, and our new funeral center will be a warm, welcoming place to talk, visit, and honor your loved ones.

Longtime Bryan College Station residents may also remember Homer Lacy Callaway as the young woman who married Manley Jones, and they raised their family in Bryan. Homer and Manley’s son Raymond, my grandfather, born in 1931, grew up loving Texas A&M and learning the family business from his earliest days growing up.clipping001.jpg

Homer devoted herself to this community and served in religious, social, service, historic and practically every organization that did good works. I especially recall her serving as Memorial Chairman of the Brazos County Heart Association for many years. Seeing her write thank-you notes and acknowledge memorial gifts made to American Heart in honor of others was a lesson I took to heart in recalling the power of a hand-written note, and the importance of timely acknowledgments of memorial gifts.

Manley W. Jones, Sr., my great-grandfather, and his wife Homer, had two sons, my grandfather, Raymond Callaway Jones and Manley Wright Jones, Jr. Manley and Homer joined First United Methodist Church of Bryan in 1953, and it was here they worked and worshiped until Manley Sr.’s death on May 18, 1979.

Raymond Callaway Jones graduated from Texas A&M in 1953 earning his BBA in Accounting. In 1954, then studied and obtained his funeral director’s license, and at the age of 24, Raymond became a co-owner of the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home.  In addition to loving his family, and my grandmother, plus working hard at the business, my grandfather loved the God, the Brazos Valley, and his country. A true patriot, Raymond was only 16 when he signed up for the 36th Division of the Texas National Guard. Including his 35 years of Guard membership, and active duty during Korea and Vietnam, Raymond retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Lt. Colonel.

Raymond married his high school sweetheart, Dian, my grandmother, and he was a member of A&M United Methodist Church for 56 years at the time of his death, having been both trustee and treasurer. He served the Bryan Jaycees, Past President of the Better Business Bureau of the Brazos Valley, the College Station Kiwanis Club, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and he was a 52-year Mason. He loved Texas A&M and supported OPAS, the 12th Man Foundation and the Association of Former Students. His distinctions and awards from the Funeral Industry would fill a wall if he’d let us display them, but he was far too humble for that. He was, above all, a gentle soul and kind-hearted southern gentleman.

You know by now that the next generation were my father, Michael D. Jones, and my mother, Lorene are next in the picture. My dad, Mike as he was best known, is the 4th generation to join the firm. My mother, Lorene grew up in Madisonville, and she graduated from Texas A&M in 1977 with her BBA in Accounting. She worked in an accounting firm in Houston early in her career but when she married my dad, they relocated to Bryan where he joined our family business in co-ownership. Coincidentally, Dad was 24 years old when he began working with my grandparents in our business. If you think you see a trend you’re right.

Soccer players sitting on hearse coached by Mike Jones
Soccer players coached by Mike Jones

My mother, like my great-grandmother before me, devoted her career to learning everything she could about the business. Lorene is a Licensed Funeral Director, Crematory Operator, Insurance Agent, and yes, she’s still an active CPA. Both my parents were devoted to family, and I recall so many years of my youth where they both made me a priority and shuttled me to every sporting event that I participated in, joyfully.

Dad was not only a leader in this community whether Bryan Rotary Club (where I continue membership in his tradition), he was an active member of both the Texas and National Funeral Director’s Associations. He was a Boy Scout teacher for camps, and my dad also founded the Brazos Magic Soccer Club, the first with multiple team soccer club in the area, which would ultimately lead to the Aggieland Classic Youth Soccer Tournament, a premiere event in Texas. The City of Bryan honored Dad renaming the soccer fields at the BRAC Soccer Complex in his honor.

My father bravely battled leukemia. If you were not on a church prayer chain in town, you might not have even realized the extent to which he worked as long as he possibly could. His strong faith and the church family at A&M United Methodist Church were an anchor for my parents during those most difficult days. This seventh-generation Texan created for me an identity of what it meant to be a businessman, husband, father, community servant, and Christian servant. Every lesson he taught me, I took to heart then and recall still today.

Together with my mother, Lorene, and my wife Chelsea, we operate our family’s business with the same level of integrity and respect for our profession that my great-great-grandparents started. One thing remains fixed forever: Nothing changes about doing business the right way. As 21st century family needs for burial, rituals of service, and places to honor those who’ve passed have changed, we’ve responded by keeping up with the times and we’re proud to think of our work as leading the way in meeting your needs. After all, Sallye Callaway was a woman who co-owned a business with her husband, worked daily with him, established her own flower shop and raised her family.Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.01.36 PM

My wife, Chelsea, and I love our home in the Brazos Valley. You’ll often find us at Aggie Soccer matches, or Aggie football games, or Aggie any sporting event you can think of, especially golf tournaments. Community service remains vital to us, and so is our faith. I, too, was 24 when I joined as Co-owner of the firm, and even in the loss of my father in 2004, I was so proud to work with my grandfather, Raymond, whom I asked to un-retire, as his knowledge was invaluable. For five years, we worked side-by-side, until his death; the final gift he gave me was that precious time.

Your family is entrusted to our care, our family’s care, and as a 5th generation funeral director, I work daily to assure your trust in us remains steadfast. I was born in Bryan, graduated from Bryan High, Southern Methodist University, and took classes at Texas A&M. Immediately upon my father’s death, I split my time between working here in the business and community to Houston to graduate from the Commonwealth Funeral Institute. I was honored to earn the distinction of admittance into the National Funeral Service Honor Society.

Like many who love Texas A&M, graduate study at Harvard University became an option for me, as I was invited to participate in the Meet the Mentors Funeral Program at Harvard as well as a graduate of Leadership Brazos, where I was also a Co-Chair for two years. I’m a licensed Funeral Director, Crematory Operator, Insurance Agent, and Certified Funeral Service Arrangement Specialist.

Many honors have come my way in the last decade, but the most important distinction I cherish today is my marriage to my wife, Chelsea in 2014. Our home is in College Station and we attend church at Christ United Methodist Church.

From these words, I hope you can see the faces and know the commitment that our family has had to serving your family in Texas now in our sixth decade of business in Bryan and in our eleventh decade of our family serving Texas families across east Texas. We’re here standing by you, as we always have, and we’ve been fortunate to have many join our staff and affiliate with our business whom we consider as our extended family.

If you recall only one thing about this history of my family and our path to 2016 in Bryan, Texas, it’s this: Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers; it’s our family serving your family. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it always will be. You have my word on it.

Cody D. Jones
Owner & Local Community MemberCJ Only Logo

 

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