Instilling Legacies of Faith, Hope, and Courage

 

At Callaway-Jones, paying tribute to Life and Legacy is our mission. We ask, “How will you be remembered?” in our pre-need conversations and in times of immediate need. We focus on the legacy a person creates in his or her lifetime and how that legacy can best be shared in bringing comfort to those we leave behind.

It’s true our funerals have changed, short-term, but only in numbers of immediately family who can attend. But, just as we were first to limit services to only 25 people, we readily complied with the Mayor’s announcement of city and Commissioners’ county guidelines to reduce the crowd to 10 people.

Right now, we have city, state, and federal mandates, but we’re also creative, innovative, and able to create the kind of service to reach your loved ones electronically. We have Zoom Interactive streaming for visitation and Facebook live streaming for services, and we can record the service for you to share in the future with loved ones.

We’re also available to write longer life tributes about your loved one to preserve the memories that would be typically shared in a funeral.

We’re here to keep you safe while paying tribute to your loved one. Be assured we voluntarily and willingly operate at the highest possible standards—always. That’s been part of my family’s legacy for over 100 years. It’s a sacrifice that our individuals and families who’ve chosen us have chosen.

In my reading I’ve been inspired by Tom Ziglar, son of the iconic Zig Ziglar. Tom, a powerful motivator in his own right, has two quotes about legacy: “Legacy is intentionally preparing those you love to grow through life’s most difficult challenges.” The other is: “When you combine love, integrity, and skill, you create a legacy.” For over six decades in the Brazos Valley, we have lived our legacy every day.

In this time of uncertainty and precaution in the Brazos Valley, we’ve been proud of our cities’ mandates and discussions about how and we have needed to alter our life and legacy tributes. Yes, we were first to limit the size of our funeral services to protect everyone, and the cities of Bryan and College Station soon reduced the number from 25 to 10 in public gatherings, while maintaining a social distance.

Zig Ziglar said, “It’s not what happens to you in life that matters. It’s how you respond to what happens to you that makes a difference.” Thank you for trusting us and following our lead!

When Bryan and College Station are under the shelter-in-place order through April 30th, we know it’s for our safety. It’s not unexpected that the number of days area schools will be closed has been extended through May 4. That will make circumstances very difficult on many of our area families.

I have been thinking about the Jones family and our legacy, that started five generations ago. I’ve said it before. 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 that serving them is a privilege and an honor.

In 1904, C. H. (Homer) Callaway started his career in Palestine, Texas, working for Frank Bailey Furniture and Undertaking. Somehow those two professions were frequently paired and more often than not, the owner’s family lived above the furniture store. Homer Callaway became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Texas in 1907.

Callaway Furniture and Undertaking was established in Crockett in 1911; Homer’s wife, Sallye, also became a licensed funeral director and the couple ran the business. They had two sons and a daughter (Homer Lacy). She married Manley C. Jones in Crockett, Texas and in 1953 the couple came to Bryan, Texas, and cofounded the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home, pictured below, at 3001 S. Texas Ave.

Our first funeral home in Bryan looked much different than ours does today. Notice that U.S. mailbox conveniently located at the roadside. Mail was delivered twice a day back then; some call that the good old days.

When my grandfather Raymond was 24 years old, he took over the family business from his father, Manley. Raymond’s brother, Manley Jr., was in the U.S. Army and served with distinction in Vietnam as well as serving in Germany, South Korea, and Italy. His career after college took him into managerial jobs and eventually to the Methodist church, where he became an ordained minister. Raymond and his wife, Dian, worked side-by-side in our family business.

Following the legacy further, when my father, Mike Jones, turned 24, he took over the business from my grandfather and my mother, Lorene, worked side-by-side with him, until he passed away. I came to work with my grandfather while I was enrolled in my funeral studies and when I was 24, I took over the business following our family’s tradition. When I married Chelsea, she and I envisioned and designed our new building together and the process was a pleasure rather than an ordeal.

As I reflect on “legacy” and what that word means to me personally, I have to say that every generation of our family, just like yours, has had many trying times and days and nights where you might question your faith, given the uncertainty of the times. You pray and you watch and you wait for answers, for things to turn around, for bad things to turn into good.

I learned from my father and my grandfather that things will, eventually, always get better. From their example I realized that the more you go through hard times and challenges, if you keep your wits about you, stay steady by doing the right things that you always do, things will indeed get better. Life does turn around for the best, and you are always surrounded with the people in your life that you love the most. Their love can be the difference maker, the factors that get you through the trying times.

Unconditional love is powerful. When we have loved ones with us, it’s always a good idea to tell them what they mean to us, even if today is not a particularly “special” or “memorable” day. Every day is memorable because the people we love are in it.

The economy will come back to a ‘normal’ sooner than later. Our community right now is overflowing with some of the very best people we know and ones we hope to meet. On Facebook, for example, people are posting that they are happy to shop for their neighbors, especially the elderly ones who do not need to be in indoor public places like the grocery stores where, even six feet apart, it can be a challenge to stay well. It’s their respiratory systems that have to do battle and stay strong.

Another Facebook friend ordered six pans of takeout lasagna and gave five of them away; some they divided up for multiple families and delivered them to friends’ front doors. In our own office, our team members have all been checking up on one another and many of their senior friends in town, making sure everyone has groceries.

They even point out and share where toilet paper might be in stock that day, since that is a commodity that is more popular than most anything else. Another team member took her own time to get materials and sew all of us face masks for our safety when we’re out in the public, another amazing gift. They’re good-looking too, so we’re even luckier.

It’s so important to support our local businesses and restaurants at this time as they’ve been severely impacted. We can use call-in, go-online, or drive-thru portals of restaurants every day, and Grubhub, DoorDash, and other delivery services from the restaurants as well. When this is all behind us and people are well and strong again, these days and the pain, worry, and wonder that go with them, will be over.

But as Tom Ziglar captured in his speeches and writings is, “What we do and how we model our responses to crisis is the legacy we leave behind to those who follow us.”

With faith and hope, we can get through these days until then, and when they’re behind us in the rearview mirror, we can give thanks for prayers that were answered, for people whose lives were saved and for every single person who committed to serve others in the health care industry, the first responders, who continue to keep us all safe, and the teachers in our towns.

Until some of you parents had to become the lead in your own home schooling to assist your kids in completing their requirements at home, you just “thought” you appreciated your children’s teachers. Now you are 100% certain that your children’s teachers are superheroes with wings, as it is absolutely a challenge for people not used to capturing a young person’s attention span and imparting knowledge and having them remember it.

Most of all, keep your sense of humor about you as we get through these times together. As always, we are here for you 24/7 and we have been hard at work as always, and we have safe, convenient ways to serve you that will keep you safe, too.

My prayer for all of us is that we all follow the directions we have been given to shelter-in-place and flatten the curve and get to the downward slope part of the curve as quickly as possible. Stay safe and stay well and keep the faith. That’s the legacy that’s been passed down to me over five generations and they are indeed words to live by.

 

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Due to the construction on S College Ave our facility is only accessible via Dellwood St. Please refer to this map for reference. Dellwood St can be accessed via Cavitt Ave and Texas Ave.

For more information, please visit the Bryan, TX website.