Aubrey Larkin owns funeral home

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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Aubrey Larkin has been around the funeral business for most of his adult life. From the time he worked part-time in the funeral home to this past month when he purchased the Lewis Brothers Funeral Home Larkin has had a heart to work in the funeral home. Larkin said that it was not something that ran in the family as far as careers but it was something he felt called to do.

The first time he had the opportunity to work in the funeral home business was thanks to Ms. Patricia Tolbert who allowed him to work part-time in the funeral home. According to Larkin without her there would be no him today.

“I started working here part-time in 2012. Ms. Patricia Tolbert was the owner at that time and she hired me. I was what they called an apprentice funeral director and an apprentice embalmer which means I was learning. She also made a way for me to come into the office and learn the business side of things.”

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Despite having the dream to work in the funeral home business Larkin followed in his family’s footsteps and went into education. He worked as a teacher, principal then finally as the HR director for Selma City Schools before deciding it was time to follow his dream.

Larkin said that when he decided to purchase the Lewis Brothers Funeral Home it was a 100% faith move after Tolbert passed away in 2021.

“Unfortunately she (Tolbert) passed away in 2021 and at that time I was still the general manager. I was elevated to the Vice President of the corporation and then on May 19 of this year I bought it,” Larkin said. “I bought the building and the business. It is truly a faith walk. It was something that God truly put on my heart to do and devote my time to, the funeral business. I prayed about it and it wasn’t until I got confirmation from God that this is what he wants me to do full-time that I let that (education) go.”

While the negotiations and the purchase were going on Larkin made the decision not to tell anyone about the decision to buy the funeral home. The only person he told was his minister Davon Simpson.

“From the very beginning he is the only one that knew what was going on,” Larkin said. “He was the only one that I confided in and sought guidance in, not just in a natural sense but in a spiritual sense. This was a spiritual ride this was a faith ride. So he not only guided me but he also directed me spiritually throughout this process.” 

It was not until after the purchase was completed that Larkin informed his mother and father.

“They did not know,” Larkin said. “I did not tell them until the end when it was time to close. That was something that was pressed upon me to do. Just move in silence and I did. I didn’t share it with anybody. When I finally broke the news with my mother, my father and my sister it was around Mother’s Day. Naturally, they were very excited. By that time I had already got the rendering of the billboard and I showed them on my phone and slid it across the table and let it speak for itself.”

Everything is done in-house according to Larkin and that is something that he takes pride in because he personally takes care of everyone who comes into the funeral home.

“When people pick up the phone and call us that means they have a level of trust in us to do an excellent service for them and their family,” Larkin said. “That’s not something we take lightly. They have other choices and when they pick up the phone and call us to me that means a lot. We do our absolute best with everybody. From the handling of the family, handling of their wishes, the arrangements, their wishes, and the presentation of the loved one. That’s not something I take lightly. I do all of my own embalming. I do all of my own cosmeticizing and getting them ready. It’s not just something that I outsource. Everybody that comes here I literally put my hands on and do my absolute best for every one of them.”

With some much history behind the Lewis Brothers name, Larkin decided to keep the name to honor the history of the funeral home thus  Aubrey Larkin’s Lewis Brothers Funeral Home. Larkin said that he wanted to make sure that he gets his name and face everywhere he can so those in the community know that he is now no longer attached to education but will still be the same Larkin that was in the education system that’s now in the funeral home service.

“The Lewis Brothers name has a long-standing tradition in this community as a tradition of excellence and professionalism. I like to say I try to be along those lines too. I felt the need, especially with me coming from education to identify as a funeral service practitioner. That was just the direction God led me to attach my name to it but to still keep and pay homage to the Lewis Brothers.”

Larkin said that being just a funeral home is not enough to him. If there are things that someone needs during a time of grief they will do what they can to provide.

“It’s nothing for someone to just walk in and for us to pray for them,” Larkin said. “That’s the type of environment I want to have. I want this to not only be a funeral home but also a place where we serve God’s people and do his work.”