Boyd Funeral Home, Inc., 207 E. Second Street in Lonoke is a family owned and operated business. Established in 1972 by Virgil and Margaret Boyd and their son, Donald, the funeral home offered full service funerals, a flower shop, and an ambulance service. Mr. Boyd started working in the funeral business in 1945 for Bailey Funeral Home in Cabot. In 1957, after obtaining his funeral directors license, he was transferred to Bailey Funeral Home in Lonoke to become manager. For many years he spent day and night driving ambulance, making death calls, and conducting funerals both in Lonoke and Cabot. In 1972, with $50 in his pocket, and the help of friends who believed in him, he was able to purchase his own funeral home down the street at the present address.
In November, 1974, while transporting a patient to a Little Rock hospital, Donald Boyd, 21, was killed in a tragic accident. At the time of his death, he and Mr. Boyd were two of the first EMT graduates in the state of Arkansas. After this tragic incident, the Boyd's sold the flower shop, discontinued the ambulance service, and made the funeral home their main priority.
As the business steadily grew over the next few years, they were able to buy out the funeral home they had originally managed. The original two story building being used for the funeral home office and state rooms was in need of major renovation. Instead, a new office area, state rooms and lobby were built in 1987. The chapel area with seating for 250, was remodeled in 1997, and the display room in 1998. A new arrangement room, lounge and children's room have been added to the back of the building as well as a paved parking lot where the old two story structure once stood.
In 1991, the Boyd's daughter, Pat Baldwin joined the family business as office manager and insurance agent. The staff has grown, with manager and funeral director, Rita Crosby; funeral director Kasi Baldwin-Ellis; part time secretaries, Margaret Murray, Kyla Baldwin and Eva Landreth, two part-time funeral directors, Jerry Colvin and Jimmy Wallace, who assist with funeral services, and an answering service after hours.
Boyd Monument Service is also owned and managed by Ms. Baldwin, with samples of markers on the yard or books to choose from in the office. The staff will gladly assist anyone in their monument needs.
In late 2005, Mr. Boyd purchased Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery on the east side of Lonoke at 1590 Hwy. 70. This is a perpetual care cemetery, which is therefore licensed and regulated by the state of Arkansas.
"This has been our way of life for over 50 years, and we have made many friends in Lonoke County. We know first hand how it feels to lose loved ones, that is why we have such love and empathy for each family we assist. We want to continue giving the service that each family deserves and expects from us. Because we are family owned, and not ruled by a large corporation, we can be more competitive with our prices, fair and considerate to our families, and show each family that we really care for them and their needs. Since our daughter, Pat has joined us, we feel confident that this tradition will continue when we decide to retire. Our funeral and office staff strives to show every family that 'We Care', by the courtesy and respect given to each and every family and family member. This is what I expect now and that tradition will continue on as long as my name is on this establishment," says Mr. Boyd.
"By adding this web site for our families to interact with, is another way of helping the family to cope with their loss, and maybe adding a little comfort.
Mr. Boyd passed away on December 20, 2016. He will be dearly missed not only by his immediate family, but by his family of devoted employees. Some have worked for him almost 20 years. He taught them how and why they should treat the dead as if they were alive, showing respect for them as much as their surviving family members. He ran a funeral service like a well-oiled machine. His teachings have followed several young funeral directors through their lives in this business. He was always respected, and loved by all that dealt with him in this business. If one member of each family he has served over the years showed up for his service, there would be standing room only. He has touched thousands over the 59 years he has been in Lonoke.