Crest Lawn Funeral Home celebrating 50 years

The funeral business is one that certainly takes a special kind of person.

Being successful dealing with families and people daily who are at the lowest point in their lives is something most people are likely not able to do.

The pool of people who are able to do it probably gets thinner if you ask them if they want to do it.

They’ve been doing it at Crest Lawn Funeral Home, 3275 Pio Nono Ave., for 50 years. Crest Lawn will celebrate the occasion noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

The public is invited to come out for a light lunch and learn about how the funeral home was started and about services offered.

The only funeral home in Macon 50 years ago was located downtown. Freddie Horton and T.L. Ivey saw a need to open a facility in south Macon, with much of the growth taking place in the area during that time. They corralled a group of investors and opened what was then called Horton-Ivey Funeral Home.

The men kept the business going for several years and eventually sold it to the owner of Hart’s Mortuary in downtown Macon, and the name was changed to Crest Lawn.

Joe Childs, Maurice Barnett and Milton Heard bought the funeral home from Hart’s about 24 years ago.

Heard now owns Hart’s. Childs and Barnett died in 2006.

Childs’ daughter, Nelle Barnett, who also was married to Maurice Barnett, now owns Crest Lawn. She got involved in the funeral home about two years ago.

She said she grew up around the business with her father working at Hart’s for 61 years before Crest Lawn, where her husband was a major player.

Nelle Barnett said she’s well aware of what it takes to keep the business successful and she became more aware in 2006 just how important her job is.

“I lost my husband and father in 2006,” she said. “I lost four members of my immediate family in 2006.

“I see how important it is to have someone across from you who cares. You have to have that compassion. I’ve gone through it,” Barnett said.

After losing her husband and father, Barnett had to make a decision about the future of Crest Lawn. It wasn’t a hard one to make because of her emotional attachment.

“I didn’t ever really consider selling to someone,” she said.

Barnett said hopefully those who attend the open house will be helped by learning what goes into planning a funeral.

“Everybody in their life has to plan a funeral at some point,” she said. “I think that’s why we’re having the open house because at least if you’ve been in a funeral home, it’s familiar.”

Harold Goodridge is the business editor at The Telegraph. Contact him at 744-4382 or e-mail him at