Kirk’s has been serving community for 50 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 11, 2015

C.L. Kirkpatrick opened Kirk’s Funeral Home 50 years ago. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

C.L. Kirkpatrick opened Kirk’s Funeral Home 50 years ago. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

For 50 years, Kirk’s Funeral Chapel Inc. has striven to do one thing — serve the people.

The Andalusia funeral home is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. Owner CL Kirkpatrick will also be honored for his hard work and dedication today.

Kirkpatrick, 90, opened the doors to Kirk’s Funeral Chapel on July 15, 1965, at 214 North Cotton Street.

He wasn’t in the funeral business from the start.

“I was an agent for an insurance company,” Kirkpatrick said. “They opened up a district office here. I was manager of that office.

“We needed a funeral home to bury people,” he said. “Back in that day, it was more like selling burial plots. That’s about the only thing people were able to buy.”

In 1975, Kirk’s had to move to its current location on the bypass. Kirk’s also runs a branch in Florala.

Serving the people has been a staple since the funeral home’s founding, Kirkpatrick said.

“What can be a better time to serve the people than in the time they need it the most when they lose a loved one,” he said. “That loved one is gone, you know, and they’re not coming back.”

Kirkpatrick has lived in the area so long that many who have died are those he knows and loves, his son, Earl, said.

“He knows the people and is close to a lot of the people,” Earl Kirkpatrick said. “When they lose somebody, he feels it, too.”

Earl Kirkpatrick said the number of funerals the chapel hosts varies each year.

“We’re not going to turn down nobody,” he said. “We bury them with money or no money.”

To celebrate 50 years of being in business, Kirk’s Funeral Chapel will hold a get together for current staff and their families today.

The Andalusia branch staff includes Howard Barrett, Aretha Hardwick, James Williams, Jamal Curry, the Rev. Matthew Coleman, the Rev. Bobby Rhodes, Candee Goodman, Sharon Daniels and Allen Nettles.

Those who work in the Florala branch are the Rev. Gary Barnes, George Edward Wilson, Jerry Stone, Albert Bradley and Gwendolyn Wilson.

“I’m going to give him recognition and honor and also honor his staff,” Earl said. “Some of them have been with him for 40 years. We’re going to honor them.”

Earl Kirkpatrick said he wanted to thank the staff for all of their dedication to the company.

“On behalf of my dad, they were there,” he said. “I’d like to thank all of them; for being dedicated to him and making sure everything was proper.”