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Farmville Funeral Home is merchant of month

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By ANGELA HARNE
The Farmville Enterprise

Monday, October 2, 2017

FARMVILLE — Since he was a child, Danny Turnage had a keen interest in the funeral home service.

No one in his family was in the business and he does not recall a movie or television show that sparked the interest that began in the eighth grade.

He graduated from high school on a Friday and started a one-year apprenticeship Monday at Rose Funeral Home in Benson, now Rose and Graham Funeral Home.

He went to college in Atlanta, Ga., to get licensed in the funeral business and returned to Rose Funeral Home for a few months before learning of an opening at Farmville Funeral Home.

In 1974, he moved to Farmville and began a career that has blossomed over time.

The Joyner, Monk and Thorne families established Farmville Funeral Home in 1905. It was once housed in Farmville Furniture Co. on Main Street in downtown Farmville. In November 1964, the funeral service moved to Church Street, where it remains today.

Turnage became part owner of Farmville Funeral Home in 1991. His silent partner is Vance Taylor. The two men also own and operate Shingleton Funeral Home in Wilson and Spring Hope Funeral Home in Spring Hope.

Turnage’s son, Chris, grew up in the funeral service business working alongside his father.

“This is all I ever wanted to do. Seeing dad help people in town. The service aspect of it to help those in their time of need has been my calling,” Chris said.

Turnage added, “It is fantastic working with my family.”

Turnage’s 10-year-old grandson, Thomas, has followed in his father’s footsteps, too.

“Thomas helps a lot, but I really can’t afford him. He’s so expensive,” Turnage said with a laugh.

Turnage hopes Thomas’ interest keeps growing, so he can help continue the family legacy.

It is a family affair. Turnage’s wife, Claudia, joined the business in 1992 after teaching fifth grade at H.B. Sugg Elementary School for 22 years. She now serves as a funeral director. Chris’ wife, Adrienne, has worked at the funeral home part-time for the past five years.

Farmville Funeral Home also employs Randy Corbitt, Jimmy Letchworth, David Hobgood, Mack King and Walter Norville.

Farmville Funeral Home is the Farmville Chamber of Commerce’s Merchant of the Month for September.

“We are appreciative of the honor, especially since we are not a traditional merchant. We provide a service and a necessity,” Chris said. “We service our customers at their worst time. It is our goal to service them with care.”

Merchant of the Month awards are presented to businesses that give back to the community, which is exactly what Farmville Funeral Home does, according to Judy Gidley, the director of the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.

“They help charities, the chamber, the arts council. The list goes on and on. What is unique about this business and family is everyday they go out to lunch together as a family and support our local businesses. They are not only a service to the community, but a service to our merchants,” Gidley said, as she presented the award to the Turnage family.

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