Second Generation of Service
By mark h. stowers
The Mortimer family were once in the agricultural business, farming catfish, cotton, and soybeans. But in the mid 1970s, the late Bob Mortimer decided to go a different path and ventured into the funeral home business. And much like a row crop, the family tended, nurtured and grew the business that now helps families put their loved ones to rest across Mississippi, as well as into Arkansas. The Greenville location of Mortimer has been there for 100 years dating back to 1922. The late Rob Mortimer Sr. bought the business in 1977, according to second generation and oldest son, Rob Mortimer.
Rob and his brother, Arthur, followed in their fathers footsteps and now oversee the business that helps families get through the toughest day of their life. There are eight funeral homes, seven cemeteries, a human crematorium, pet crematorium and vault manufacturing facility that make up the Mortimer Funeral Home business.
Rob jokes that he was practically “born” into the business.
“Years ago the local hearses also served as ambulances. This was of course before cell phones and one day my father got the call to go pick someone up. It turns out it was my mother who was in labor with me. I was practically born in the back of a hearse!” he says. “ I actually started working in the business when I was sixteen.”
The Mortimer brothers have learned how to help those who are in the worst time of their lives.
“You have to be able to comfort them and be able to bounce out of that depression back into your personal life. It takes a good balance.” he says.
Having a full-service mindset, the Mortimers work to take care of every aspect of a funeral and not have families going from business to business to piece together everything under the duress of death.
“We’re the only company that can do all of that,” he says. “If you come here you don’t have to go anywhere else. The last thing you want to do on the worst day of your life is drive around all day trying to make huge financial decisions.”
One avenue that helps greatly with the stress of dealing with funeral preparations is to pre-plan.
“It helps to be able to make those important decisions when you’re not upset,” says Mortimer.
An average funeral can easily cost $8,000 and up. A cremation is about half of that. With pre-planning a funeral, payments can be as low as $55 a month.
“Pre-planning cost are frozen and inflation proof. Once you pay it off, you don’t owe anything else, even if you live another fifty years,” he says. “We explain that aspect and look at everything—all your choices in cemetery plots, caskets, headstones, vaults—anything you need and then give you time to think about it.”
Services offered by Mortimer include manufacturing their own vaults, cremations as well as burial insurance and headstones. Grief support services are offered for clients and they also offer pet services for both burial and cremation.
“We get a lot of help from veterinarians with the services that we offer for deceased pets. And it doesn’t cost much.” he says.
The family business continues to grow and their business plan is to continue helping and taking care of neighbors, family and friends through that toughest day for years to come.
“Our customers can rest assured that we will be here when you need us every time,” he says.
Trained in Mortuary Science at Northwest Community College campus in Memphis, Rob Mortimer serves as president and helps oversee the eight funeral homes and seven cemeteries along with his co-owner younger brother, Arthur. The younger Mortimer was educated at East Mississippi Community College in Mortuary Science.
“We have managers at each of our facilities and cemeteries and I oversee all of them,” says Mortimer. “We’ve added a second crematory, so now we have one in Greenville and one in Grenada.”
With the passing of their father in 2019, the two sons oversee the entire operation of taking care of families loved ones in their final journey. The brothers are constantly looking to expand.
“We concentrate on making people happy and giving them the best customer service we can. My father always told me, ‘if you take care of your families, they’ll take care of you’ so we always try to do that,” says Mortimer.