Jack Selby’s top hat reminds him of the hard work and attention to detail that is required with each and every funeral.
June 2016: An old top hat sits inside Jack Selby’s office as a reminder of his first day of business in August of 1983. Sweat was dripping from his brow as he prepared to direct his first funeral in his new business. Every single detail was checked and double-checked as the temperature reached the triple digits. Over thirty years later, he still puts forth the same effort with every funeral he directs.
Respect for the passing of loved ones has always been held in high regard. Owner of Bixby Funeral Service, Jack Selby, understands the importance of a time set aside to honor, reminisce and grieve. With more than forty years experience in the business, he has seen his fair share of changes and consistencies.
Selby started in the mid 1960s as a high school junior in need of a job. A local funeral home owner needed someone to sweep floors and dust furniture. Selby recalls all funerals to be pretty much the same, a cookie-cutter service with the indivual’s name inserted in the right place. In the following years he learned more about funerals, took on more responsibilities and chose mortuary science as his own profession.
Since Jack and his wife, Carol, opened Bixby Funeral Service in 1983, funerals have evolved to become as customized and personal as families want them to be. Today Jack directs funerals that are services, ceremonies or celebrations of someone’s life.
“Our entire staff is dedicated to working with families to create a meaningful experience that reflects their loved one’s journey,” he says. “After all, the funeral—whatever they choose—is very important. It marks a person’s life, and every life has value. Every person deserves to be recognized for their accomplishments and the influence they made on others.”
Selby goes the extra mile to take care of families, some of them returning as second or third generations. Each family selects what is meaningful to them. This could be a conventional service of any faith. It could also be non-religious, with favorite music, readings, poetry or a balloon release. A graveside service is another option, as well as cremation and a memorial service or an earth-friendly or “green” burial. Photo displays and artifacts are popular in actual form or in a digital remembrance that can be shared with family members to come or mourners who could not attend.
Cost is still an important factor in today’s economy. The certified celebrant says he can provide any level of funeral service, even officiating upon request.
“Tell me what you need and what you want and I will work with you to make it happen,” he says.
Many people are now pre-planning their funerals with a confidential file to make their wishes known exactly as they want them. This not only eases the burden on the family at a difficult time, but also guarantees current prices with three, five and ten year payment options.For those who want to share a meal before or after a service, a large and comfortable assembly room is available. Food and refreshments can be brought in or arranged catering is also an option.
Selby is a firm believer in giving back to the community that he has called home nearly all his life. He is a member of the Bixby Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Bixby and Bixby Optimist Club, where he served as President for two terms.
See more about An Old Custom with New Options: