Our family business grew last week with the purchase of a long-standing Cookeville business, Dyer Funeral Home. Our family and staff are excited to return Dyer’s to local ownership. We believe the addition of Dyer Funeral Home to our family of funeral homes will enhance our overall service and allow us to invest more in our community.
The seeds of this transaction were planted several years ago with a meeting, that in our minds, will always be a “Godcidence. Our friend, Steve Tiebout first introduced us to the term “Godcidence” to describe something that is so coincidental that it can’t be explained by human reasoning. I wondered if I could find this term anywhere else, so I tried asking Google, “What is a Godcidence?” Google responded with the question, “Did you mean coincidence?” Clearly, this is not a word that Google or I can explain very well. Maybe that’s because “Godcidences” are really meant to be experienced.
A few years ago David and I were attending the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International Conference in Florida, when a gentlemen approached us at dinner and introduced himself as “your competitor.” Although there were hundreds of attendees from several different industries at the conference, there were only three funeral home owners in attendance, David and I, and Art Kimbrough, owner of Dyer Funeral Home. A Florida native, Art owns several funeral homes in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and had purchased Dyer’s a few years ago. He saw Hooper-Huddleston & Horner on the roster of attendees, located us in the crowd, and introduced himself. David and I have shared that incident several times in the context of “small world” stories, but we always felt that first meeting was a lot more than just a coincidence.
Dyer Funeral Home began in 1966, by brothers, Ralph and Paul Dyer. They had a history with funeral service – Ralph had worked at Hooper & Huddleston, and he and Paul sang at many funerals. While we were sharing the news of the purchase with our employees, a sweet lady shared the story of the first family Dyer’s ever served – almost 50 years ago. The death was sudden and the family was shocked, distraught and confused. She spoke of the brothers’ kindness and willingness to do whatever was necessary to help. Paul Dyer responded to the call and helped the family with so much more than just the usual funeral details. “He was such a good man,” she remembers. That first funeral was her father’s. Her presence and her story surprised and humbled us – as only a “Godcidence” will.
So many people have been part of the heritage of the business Ralph and Paul established. Hoyt and Shirley Mayberry continued to serve families with love and care when they purchased the business in 1988. They added the warmth of their own family while providing care to so many others. Rev. Paul Durham was the next owner of Dyer’s. He and his staff continued to serve families until his untimely death. Today, the staff at Dyer Funeral Home, Jeff Davenport, Jody Dailey, Jim & Tootsie McCaleb and Roger Cooper are extending the legacy of care in the same facility Ralph and Paul built with their own hands on Willow Avenue so many years ago.
In a world that can seem large and impersonal, I believe God orchestrates these amazing experiences to let us know He cares about the details of our lives, our work and our purpose. So, the next time you have a random experience that defies explanation, be thankful for the gift of a “Godcidence.”