- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/).
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 1 Oct 2008.
Stella Reed Rambo obituary
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 1 Feb 2010.
Meet Your Neighbor: For Reed Atchley, funeral business a way of life
By JEFF FARRELL
For Reed Atchley, work is all in the family.
His family’s name has become familiar to generations of Sevier County residents who have used Atchley Funeral Home to oversee funeral services for their loved ones. In fact, he is part of the fourth generation of Atchleys to work in the family business.
It’s unusual these days to see a family stay in a business for that long, but Reed said it was just a natural decision after growing up around it.
“It’s just sort of been a way of life,” he said. “One of the first things I remember as a kid is being here. Being around some of the same people who were here when I was a kid is great.”
In fact, many of the employees at the home have worked there for 20 years or more.
It’s a difficult job, but it’s also rewarding, Reed said.
“It’s the ultimate service business,” he said. “You’ve got to realize that when you do it.”
It takes a certain temperament to deal with people who are suffering tremendous grief so regularly, and stereotypes might have funeral directors as dry and detached people.
While they have to keep a certain detachment to do their jobs, Reed said it wouldn’t be accurate to say they don’t empathize with the people coming through their doors.
“It’s not like the emotions never get to us,” he said. “Over time, you learn how to help people.”
While they are providing a service, and dealing with people at a time of great grief, they are also running a business, he said. They try not to let money become an issue when they’re helping people plan a service for a person they’ve just lost. The most important thing during that time, he said, is helping to overseeing the details of a service and burial.
But that’s also why they encourage people to plan those services for themselves while they’re healthy — when it’s distant from their thoughts and the last thing they might want to talk about.
More often than not, he said, it’s after attending a funeral that people will come by to do that on their own. “We hear a lot that ‘I drive by the place all the time, but I just came to a funeral and decided it was time.’”
Reed’s also aware that his name has become familiar to the community, for their business and for involvement in charities and other areas. It’s something he appreciates.
“We’re just very fortunate to have a business here where we can help the community so much,” he said. “I tell people all the time I’m lucky to have the teachers I’ve had to get so involved in the community.”