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Deal closes in acquisition of funeral home

SoVaNow.com / May 05, 2014
The new owners of Brooks Lyon Funeral Home in South Boston have closed on the deal to acquire the venerable downtown business — and with the changeover, they’re now seeking to do their part to revitalize the surrounding commercial district.

Michael Lyon, who along with his wife Jane agreed to buy Brooks Funeral Home from outgoing owners Gene and Kathy Comer, said this weekend that the acquisition was completed Friday afternoon. As one of their first steps, the couple will invest in improvements to the newer of the two Brooks buildings, constructed in 1981.

“We know we will do a total redecorating and refurbishing of the chapel and the visitation area,” said Lyon. The Lyons have hired J.E. Burton Construction as the general contractor and intend to use local subcontractors whenever possible to carry out the work. “I’m a believer that the community generates the revenues, and the community should benefit from the revenues,” said Lyon.

“We’re going to work diligently to find them.”

Once the renovations begin, work will take place largely during nighttime hours to minimize the impact on normal business operations. Lyon said 14 local craftsmen already have stepped forward offering to work overnight hours — a gratifying show of support, he added.

The Lyons have discussed their business plans with Tamyra Vest of Destination Downtown and South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel to “remain in sync” with ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown and boost customer traffic. He said the funeral home would work very closely with Destination Downtown to promote the Main Street area.
“We’re very excited about the proximity [of the funeral home] to Constitution Square, The Prizery and the Higher Education Center,” he said.

The Lyons also own Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home in Clarksville, Clarksville-based Cremation Society of Virginia and Lancaster Funeral & Cremation Services of Louisburg, N.C. Residents of Clarksville, they both have ties to South Boston — Mike Lyon is a member of the Halifax Regional Health System board, and Jane Lyon is a former HRHS employee and personnel manager for Burlington Industries back when it operated plants in Clarksville and Halifax.

Families that have been served by Brooks Funeral Home in the past will find one thing won’t be changing much with the change of ownership — the makeup of the funeral home staff, which numbers three full-time employees and eight part-timers.

Aside from the Comers, who are departing the family business, the rest of the employees are staying. That includes Betty Jones, wife of late longtime owner-operator Doug Jones and mother of Kathy Comer. “Betty’s been with the firm for 40 years-plus,” said Lyon. “She’s going to help with the blending of the two companies” — Brooks Lyon in South Boston and Watkins Cooper Lyon in Clarksville. “She’s going to work in both Clarksville and South Boston.”

While the Lyons are intent on making improvements to the downtown funeral home — which had been slated for closure in March — Lyon stressed the importance of maintaining continuity, especially with a business that has served generations of Halifax County families.

“We’re not looking at changing things that have been done very well. We’re looking at enhancing things that have been done very well.
“The Jones, Brooks, Comer family has done many things very well.”

After the couple announced their intention to acquire Brooks Funeral Home, Lyon said he received numerous phone calls at his Clarksville office from families, some in a frantic state, asking how they could preserve their funeral arrangements with the South Boston home. “This is family to them. They did not want this firm to close. It’s been a very warm reception we’ve been receiving …. The reception we’ve gotten is one of relief.”

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Comments

You people keep on trying to kill Doug Jones. He is alive and well in Clarksville.

Comments

The late Doug Jones? Um....I agree with the previous postee....he is very much alive and well and living in Clarksville. Someone needs to do their research before they print a story !


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