History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
David R. Calvert (often referred to as Mr. Dave) quit school in the eighth grade and took over Calvert Furniture and Funeral Home, that was established by his father James V. Calvert in 1906 in the Abbott community of North Western Clay County Mississippi. He later moved the business to West Point, to the first location where the furniture and funeral home evolved. Brothers, Gates, Douglas and Jimmy worked in the business. Gates was the bookkeeper, Douglas was the mortician and Jimmy was the salesman and David was the funeral director. While Calvert Furniture and Funeral Home was located in the building on Main Street in downtown West Point, the embalming room was on the ground floor, in the back of the building. The casket “show room” was located on the second floor. Funeral services were usually held in the church where the family might attend. Often the body was taken to the family residence where a service might also occur. Other times there was a room in the back of the store where the casket was placed until it was taken to the church for services. In younger years David would journey with his father to the county churches, beginning early in the morning hours traveling by horse drawn hearse. Following the funeral they would begin the journey back to West Point. David recalled one distant church location in the McCondy Community required that David and his father James V. having to camp the night on the banks of the chattahouchie creek before reaching West Point and finishing the trip the next morning.
In 1945 the furniture portion of the business was sold to the Johnson family of Columbus and later becoming Doughty Furniture Store, David concentrated his time on the funeral home business. Gates, Douglas and Jimmy went on to other positions and jobs. With the sale of the furniture store, David sought to move the funeral home when he bought a two story boarding house from the Deanes family located at 113 East Broad Street (where the business operated until May 31, 1996) and converted the house to accommodate the funeral home-this took about six months while the house was being transformed into the new funeral home location. Mr. Dave’s family residence was often used as a place for a body to lie until the funeral might be held. Inez, Mr. Dave’s wife, and daughters Anne and Ginger worked in the business whenever needed. Mr. Dave looked to Pem Martin (of Martin Brothers Hardware and Funeral Home in Starkville) who he hired to work as the embalmer/mortician. Working along with David as a funeral director assistant was Ralph Harper. Jimmie Hicks and Willie Walker worked as porters for the funeral home, handling the cemetery set-ups and general maintenance for the business as well as handling the delivery of funeral flowers to the cemetery for our families. Later daughter Anne would fill in for her father, Mr. Dave if he could not be there, when she was on duty, she was very capable.
Mr. Dave also operated a funeral home for the Black community on Cottrell Street; this business was sold to Ernest Westbrook of Aberdeen. Mr. Dave owned and operated the only ambulance service in West Point and Clay County. The ambulance was mainly used to transport people from hospital to home for the sum of $2.50. The ambulance also traveled trips to other towns and states such as Memphis, Jackson and Birmingham for a fee of $35.00. Ready 24 hours a day for any emergency such as a wreck or a sudden illness, many came to know to “just call Calvert’s” . Back in the day, firemen would come and help Mr. Dave and Miss Anne as the diligently worked to save lives. Later Calvert’s Ambulances were equipped with “oxygen” and other equipment as it continued to up date and move forward for the times and needs of their clients and families. It was a great service to Clay County, the surrounding counties and states.
In November, 1955 Lacy E. Allen was hired to work for Mr. Dave. His daughter Anne moved on to continue her education at Mississippi State College. Mr. Dave soon found Lacy Allen to be the capable person to carry on the business. Through his promise to Lacy, David said, ‘you work with me for five years and show me you can learn the business, and I will make it worth your while.” And Mr. Dave did just that in late 1962 he began his transition to sell the business to Lacy and wife Bonnie B. Allen and incorporated the business on February 1, 1963 into the organization that continued under the Allen family management until December 27, 2013. Mr. Dave continued on with the firm until his health failed and he passed away on November 22, 1964.
After Lacy and Bonnie took the reigns of the business, they made great improvements to the 113 East Broad Street home. Moving walls and facilitating more downstairs rooms for visitation and expanding the chapel area. Moving the “show room” downstairs to the unused upstairs to a larger up dated to spacious selection rooms. Later, a two-ton lift elevator was installed in the North West corner of the structure servicing the caskets from floor to floor for our families. Over the years while family members would select from the rooms upstairs; often one would recall living in one of the rooms when the building served as a boarding house during the 30’s and 40’s long before the funeral home came to locate there.
Calvert’s business was blessed with a number of dedicated employees over the years. Among those in addition to Ralph Harper were Samuel L. “Red” Millsaps, Ralph Griffin, Frank Wilson, Alva Blake, Jr. (1967-2001), Andrew Nelson Hughes (1994-2012), Edwin Dale Randle (2000-2013), 1994-Lula Young Crowder (1972-1988), Hazel Armstrong Thomas (1990-1996), and Sara Jordan“Bitsy” Weaver from 1996 until present. In addition to Pem Martin, trade embalmers included Bo Norman, Charles “Chuck” Weldon, Tommy Wells. Equally important to the business were porters, John Blackmon and Ernest Crumble keeping the custodial, cemetery set-ups.
Working and maintaining the business under the handicap of not having a full time licensed embalmer/mortician, Lacy Allen looked to his own family and youngest child for help. Scotty Allen was sent to Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science enrolling in the August 15, 1972 Delta Tau Class graduating with honors August 17, 1973. Beginning his tenure August 18, 1973, helping his Mother and Father. Shortly following his graduation, the Mississippi State Board of Embalmers, under special provisions licensed him. An accomplished restorative artist, Scotty soon garnered the respect of the public and extended the goodwill so recognized by his predecessors.
With the approaching millennium, Scotty set his sights on improving the conditions and facilities by moving forward with the construction of a new structure situated on Highway 50-East Main Street on a rolling hillside 28-acre plat. His wife, Beverly and their three sons, Scott, Jr., Brian and Hayden worked alongside with Scotty planning and working after school in the construction of the new building, making it far more special to the family than they ever realized it would be. Beginning construction early February, 1995 and completing and moving in June 1, 1996. We now could offer a fully paved and dedicated parking area with over 150 marked spaces for all the room and safety needed for the growing community. The new facility featured over 14,000 square feet with 13,000 of it heated and cooled, that included a large receiving area, three 20 x 30 state rooms, two of which adjoin. The larger 40 x 60 chapel can accommodate over 350 in seated comfort. The community soon came to enjoy the state of the art amenities of the new building that was admired by many neighboring towns and from those coming from other states as we looked forward to the future service in a more spacious venue.
With the loss of his parents Bonnie January 11, 1997 and Lacy E. Allen February 18, 1999, the staff shifted to include help from Scotty’s wife Beverly Riley Allen, and their three sons, Scott, Jr., Brian and Hayden. Brian R. Allen worked with the firm (2000-2003) graduated from EMCC with honors and continued his education at Mississippi State University with honors, and with Masters degree with honors from San Francisco State University.
Outside of the family Mr. Nelson Hughes and Mr. Dale Randle long appreciated by the many families that called on us as they served many years assisting with funerals. Tyler D. Higginbotham a 1993 graduate of EMCC came to us June 1, 1997 and grown to serve in the “Calvert Tradition”. James Neil “Jim” Hudson a graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia from 2002-2013 both of these young men took up the trade and became recognized in the community for their kind and caring service.
New Legacy Memorial, Inc. purchased Calvert Funeral Home in late 2013. Tyler Higginbotham continues with the funeral home as managing funeral director. Tyler's many years with Calvert and his companionate attention to families makes him a great asset to the funeral home as well as the community. Sara "Bitsy" Weaver also continues as the funeral home's friendly hostess.
Our Valued Staff
Tyler D Higginbotham, Funeral Director and Mortician
Calvert Funeral Home is proud to introduce Tyler Higginbotham as its new managing funeral director. Tyler has been associated with Calvert Funeral Home since 1997; serving families in West Point and Clay County. Tyler is a 1993 Graduate of East Mississippi Junior College, where he obtained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in Mortuary Science. Tyler and his wife Amy have three daughters; Katie Rose Higginbotham Ricks (Casey), Maridee Moreland Higginbotham, and Sadie Sanders Higginbotham. They have two grandchildren Anna Tyler and Butler Brooks Ricks.
E. Scott Allen, Consultant
E. Scott Allen has been with the firm professionally since August 1973 coming from an early background in the funeral service alongside his parents Lacy and Bonnie Allen for 28 years. Scotty is an honor graduate of Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science’s Delta Tau Class of August 1973. Scotty and his wife Beverly and their three sons Scott, Brian and Hayden have all taken part in the life of the business during their time at home. Scott, Jr. lives in Columbus. Scott is a Graphic Designer. Hayden and wife Jessica Bohon Allen welcomed their first daughter Zoe Jayne in 2010; both Hayden will receive his BS in Business Spring of 2014 from MUW. Brian is an honor graduate of East Mississippi Community Mortuary Science College at Scooba, Mississippi and an honor graduate of Mississippi State University in May, 2007. He is an 2013 honor graduate with a Masters degree of Education from San Francisco State University. Scotty retired from service December 27, 2013 and serves as a consultant to the firm.
Sara “Bitsy” Weaver, Hostess
Sara “Bitsy” Weaver has been a friend of the Calvert family for over 60 years and began as our hostess in 1997. She is a valued member of the Calvert staff. Bitsy enjoys baking and delivers baked goods to local municipalities on a monthly basis. She is a member of First Methodist Church of West Point.