Ralph wanted people to have a place locally that could help them in their times of need. He didn’t have all the experience in the world back in those days but he worked hard at it, and as Cleveland grew, so did Buckner Funeral Home.
From a very modest beginning, Ralph and his wife, Stella, worked side-by-side to build the business into two locations with more than 15 employees. Ralph and Stella felt a need to give something back to the community and did so, donating both time and resources to various projects. Ralph even served as commissioner of police as it was called in those days.
In 1980 Ralph retired, or so we thought. Several years later, he passed his tradition of service to his son and daughters when he opened Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
The tradition continues to this day with Ralph Buckner Jr. and his sisters, Becky and Linda.
“I remember Mom and Dad being very involved in the community. They taught us a family-oriented approach to serving the people of this community. They worked here, raised their family here and built their business here. Now it’s our time to do the same,” stated Ralph Buckner Jr., CEO.
He continued, “Our funeral home is locally owned and operated and always has been. Our family has served this community for over 60 years, and God willing, we will serve for another 60 years with the compassion, trust, superior service and affordability that all people deserve. Our family has walked in your shoes. We can’t turn the clock back, but we can try to make the tragic loss of a loved one a little easier for you.”
As a co-founder, along with his wife, Chari, of the Ralph Buckner Foundation, he is applying the lessons of his parents in giving back to the community.
The Ralph Buckner Foundation funds many charitable organizations including local affiliates of United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Cleveland City and Bradley County Schools through the Bradley County Public Education Foundation.
In addition, the Ralph Buckner Foundation supports local education through scholarships to Lee University, Cleveland State Community College and The Baylor School in memory of Ralph and Stella Buckner and Shipley Rose Buckner. These scholarships assist students studying education, business, criminal justice, firefighting and emergency services.
Buckner is very proud of the staff of professionals who serve at RBFH and the amount of time and effort they have put forth in developing their skills.
Buckner himself is a licensed funeral director and was elected to the Funeral Service Foundation national board. As the charitable voice of funeral service, FSF currently awards numerous scholarships and grants annually to support career and professional development, the support of funeral service and allied professions, public awareness and education, the improvement of children's lives, and disaster relief, all while continuing to fundraise to support these missions.
RBFH boasts a dozen staff members who are licensed funeral directors, five of whom are nationally certified through the Cremation Association of North America as certified crematory specialists.
The CANA Code of Cremation Practice stresses dignity and respect for the care of the deceased; a Cremation Authority should be responsible for creating and maintaining an atmosphere of respect; that cremation should be considered a preparation for memorialization; that the deceased of our our society should be memorialized through a commemorative means suitable to the survivors.
Buckner commented, “We have the best trained and qualified staff in the industry. They are caring, compassionate and knowledgeable and ready to shepherd families through difficult decisions.”
In recent months, there have been other funeral homes that are offering cremation and burials at a ridiculously low price. In these uncertain economic times, they seem very attractive.
Ralph Buckner Funeral Home also offers lower cost cremation and burial services, but will only go so low.
“Here is the way I see it,” says Buckner. He continues, “You want the best when your child is born, when your son or daughter gets married or that child goes to college. You should want the best for a cremation or burial service for your loved one. The best doesn’t always mean the most expensive, either.”
RBFH is proud to have three limos, a chapel that can seat 300 people and a wide range of services not offered by other funeral homes. They also have a staff that is compassionate, caring and exceptional in every way.
RBFH is a locally owned and operated funeral home with an on-site crematory. So, what does that mean? What it means is most other funeral homes in the area must send their cremation services somewhere else.
“Your loved one actually has to leave the facilities in order to be cremated. At RBFH, your loved one never leaves the premises. We find that to be very comforting for our families,” Buckner said.
Cremation services are often misunderstood. Most people do not realize that a cremation service is very similar to a traditional burial service.
Families can choose a funeral service prior to the cremation, a memorial service before or after the cremation and an inurnment in a mausoleum or columbarium. It’s not the immediate cremation that you see on TV unless you choose to do it that way.
Ralph and Stella Buckner always strived to provide a level of caring, quality and affordability for the residents of Cleveland and Bradley County. And the torch has been passed to their children.
The Buckner family will continue in the footsteps of excellence established by Ralph and Stella Buckner more than 60 years ago. The Buckner family has learned a lot over the past two years. Their personal lives have been filled with good days and bad days. They’ve learned that death is a part of life in a very real way. And they are so very grateful for the support of friends, family and community.
At Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Cremation Services, the tradition continues.