GLASGOW – Almost all the staff faces at A.F. Crow & Son Funeral Home and the name are remaining the same, but the business that has been in Glasgow for 91 years was under new ownership as of Friday.
The former owner, Follis Crow – technically Aubrey Follis Crow III – has retired, but he promised and emphasized in an interview with the Glasgow Daily Times on Thursday that A.F. Crow & Son will continue to provide excellent service with care and compassion, as it always has.
“The reason for retirement is just I'd like to have some time being able to do the things I want to do while I still have the health, hopefully, to do a few things and visit with my family and travel some. I'm not moving out the town. I'm not leaving. I'm not relocating, at least not now,” Crow said. “It is a positive thing.”
He said he and his wife are grateful for everyone who has supported them and trusted the family and firm for the past 91 years.
Kevin Beaty, one of three licensed funeral directors and embalmers who have been with the funeral home for several years, has become the new managing funeral director. The other two director/embalmers, Larry Self and Kenny Shepperd, and the three licensed funeral directors who are not embalmers, Terry Wilson, Billy Allen and Timmy Waddell, will continue to work there, as will Jennie Wilson, the office manager, and Martha Dickson, who provides housekeeping services, Crow said. His wife, Jean Crow, who has been doing the bookkeeping the past several years, retired along with him.
The new owner is Morris Family Homes, the parent company for now six funeral homes, including Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory in Owensboro and Miller-Schapmire Funeral Home in Hartford. The husband-wife team of Nathan and Megan Morris are the co-owners of that company, he being president and she vice president, Nathan Morris told the Glasgow Daily Times via phone Friday afternoon.
His wife is part of the family that has been running Haley McGinnis for decades, he said. When her father was approached about purchasing Miller-Schapmire, he declined but referred the inquiry to his son-in-law. Morris said he and Megan saw the great need then to continue the level of care available from family-owned funeral homes, and gradually others were added to the fold.
“I think it's important that we're put here to love and care for people,” he said, adding that everyone deserves that. “We will never settle.”
Crow said the sale has been roughly a two-year process since he first began looking into it, knowing none of his three children had interest in continuing with the business. In deciding the Morrises were the best fit, he said, he liked that the company was based within Kentucky, is family owned and, would, first and foremost, keep his staff.
“I was wanting to make sure the employees were sustained, taken care of,” Crow said. “We have a great staff that wants to treat everybody with dignity and respect and continue to serve them in the needs that they want.”
He said anyone with prearrangements and/or insurance assignment need not worry.
“There's nothing changing that they have to worry about through that ...,” he said. “That won't change. That's not being moved anywhere or anything like that. … All those will still be serviced they way they want.”
How it began
Follis Crow's grandfather, A.F. Crow Sr., began in the general store/furniture store/undertaking business in Scottsville around 1915, and his brother, T.W. Crow, joined him. They created a Crow Brothers funeral service there but split around the mid-1920s.
“My grandfather came to Glasgow and started in 1928,” Crow said. “The present building we're in, the land was purchased in 1936 and the building completed in 1938 and been here ever since.”
The senior A.F. Crow started the business a block away, just east of Broadway along East Main Street, in the vicinity of the parking lot between insurance and chiropractor businesses that are there now.
“They built this place, and it was their home as well as an actual funeral home,” Crow said. “At that time, most of the funerals and preparations, embalmings and visitations were done in the home and churches, but this was built as a funeral home in 1938."
There was just a small chapel in the original portion, which is between the current chapels. Major renovations occurred about 1957 or '58, and his grandparents moved upstairs. They stayed there until Crow Sr.'s death in 1961, when his wife built a home elsewhere and moved out, but then his son, A.F. Crow II, who had worked with the business throughout his life and became a full partner in the mid-1950s, moved his family into the apartment when Crow III was 9 years old in late 1961 or early '62.
“We lived up here until his death in 1965," Crow said of his father.
For the next 14 years, one and then another of the senior directors took over management.
Crow's career had started there when he was 18 in 1971. After three years' apprenticeship there, he went to mortuary school in Louisville and got his license in case the family needed him there, returning to Glasgow after graduation. He worked a couple of years in the construction business, got married in 1978 and then bought the other director's interest in '79, bringing it all back in the family. In 2014, the third A.F. Crow became sole owner when he purchased his sister's and aunt's shares they had inherited.
“It's been a great life and a great opportunity to work in an area that I can make a good living in a town I really liked and serve people at the same time,” Crow said.