By Leader Contributor Jessie Rigney
Byron Calhoun’s family has been in the funeral industry for over 65 years, and he knew it was his responsibility — and calling — to continue the family business.
Calhoun is the president of Calhoun Funeral Home & Cremation Service, which now includes three locations across Northeast Ohio.
Isaac Miller, COO & Legal Counsel at MKJ Marketing, recently spoke with Calhoun about his decision to join the family profession and become a funeral director.
“I saw how my father served his community — how dedicated and loyal he was — and how he helped people during a very difficult time. I felt like it was an opportunity to serve and follow in his footsteps,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun holds multiple degrees, including an MBA, which he believes helps him to understand the needs of families.
“We really listen to what our client needs are and what they want from us. We try to provide goods and services that fit their needs,” he said.
The funeral industry is always changing, and Calhoun knows it’s crucial to stay ahead of these changes.
“Cremation has exploded on the market, and we actually put in a full-service crematory to provide those services to our clients that are looking for that option,” Calhoun said.
When asked about the common misconceptions connected with cremation, Calhoun said he knows it’s critical to dispel these fallacies when talking to families.
“Many people feel that when they choose cremation they can’t have a service. We like to tell families it’s just another form of disposition. You can have a full funeral service just like you would if you were going to the cemetery. We want to explain all their options and let them choose what’s best for their situation,” he said.
Calhoun knows how important his staff is to the success of the funeral home, and he likes to look outside of the industry to find people who are passionate about serving those around them.
“We look for people who have a heart for people. We look for folks who are highly motivated and want to serve or people with a hospitality background and talk to them about the funeral service. We find a lot who feel like this is the industry they can be passionate about and are excited to join our team,” he said.
Calhoun also believes community involvement is important and tries to support local organizations whenever he can.
“Giving back is something my father believed in very heavily. We founded a scholarship back in 1975 that we still give out today. We feel like we have a responsibility to give back to the community that has supported us over the years,” he said.