Trae Cody, co-owner, apprentice funeral director, and licensed insurance agent, explained Companion is a family-owned, full-service funeral home.
“We really feel a sense of pride when we are able to help a family in their time of need.
“We care about the families and we truly feel it is our family serving your family,” he said. “Very rarely is there a service at Companion where a Cody is not present.”
“We have had tremendous support from the families we have served,” he said. “We see it ( the funeral home) as a calling and our ministry.”
Companion Funeral and Cremation Service is helping take funerals back to familiar areas for the families they serve.
Cody noted that years ago, funerals were held at the homes or the local church.
“They had the service in their community at a comfortable location, not a foreign place they visited a few times in their life. It is place where they had family — brothers and sisters, neighbors, friends, and church family,” he said.
As a result of the services being in the community, “we are able to lower the costs because we can keep a smaller facility,” Cody said.
“We have had only a few people who said they wished we had a chapel,” Cody said.
“We have options for families who don’t have a church home,” he said.
He said, Companion offers the same quality products and services as other facilities at about half the cost. They offer top of the line Batesville Caskets and Doric Vaults for the families they serve.
They also do pre-need funeral planning. “We write a number of new pre-needs and we also have a lot of pre-need transfers that save families money from their current arrangements.
“We have been tremendously blessed,” he said.
Companion was granted a license from the state of Tennessee on Aug. 9, 2011. In 2011, they were able to serve 44 families.
In 2012, they were able to assist 252 families with their funeral services. To date, they have serviced 101 families in 2013.
“We are in awe of how the Lord has blessed us,” he said. “God opened this door for us.”
Cody explained his father, Robbie Cody had “stepped out of custom-home building after 30+ years.” He was looking for another opportunity.
In November of 2008, the Cody family started Constant Companion Pet Funeral Home and Crematory as a result of the loss of a pet. They had “Ziggy” cremated in Lenoir City, Tenn. and felt the need in the community for that same service.
“We started small (the pet crematory). The concept was new to us. We now average about 260 pets a month,” he said.
As a result of the success of the pet services, they had families ask if they had considered doing traditional services.
“They said if you took this great care of our pets, we cannot imagine how you would treat a family member,” he said.
“Through all of these encounters and encouragement from families, God was opening this door,” the younger Cody said.
Robbie Cody began to look into courses and see what he would need to do to make it a reality.
The Codys also began a dialogue with the state board to find out what they needed to do in order to service both the pets and have the traditional funeral home.
He said there are four or five other funeral homes in the region that offer both services.
“The state told us in order to do both services we must have them completely divided.”
Trae Cody said they began revamping the building.
“There is a firewall between the two. You cannot access the pet crematory from the funeral home. You must go outside for access.”
There are two different addresses for each of the businesses. The pet crematory is 2417 Georgetown Road and the funeral home is located at 2415 Georgetown Road.
“The state inspected us during construction and multiple times since we opened up. We have not had any complaints. We’ve had positive reports and flawless inspections each time,” Trae Cody said.
“We have kept the names similar so people will know it is the same family operating each of them,” he explained.
However, he emphasized, everything is kept separate between pet cremations and traditional funeral services.
“We do have two businesses. We operate them sequentially and the state understands and approves this,” he said.
The funeral home has a small parlor for families connected to the arrangement room.
He said their family has acquired property and plans to do some expansion; but they still desire to keep the facility small to keep lower costs.
They also have a hearse, utility vehicle, family car and a SUV for pallbearers for their families to use during their services.
In September 2012, Companion opened an onsite crematory. It also is completely separate from the pet crematory, located in a separate building on the property.
He noted 208 families have chosen cremation in the past six months: “These cremations were able to be done in our facility, with no third party present in the process.”
Trae said he and his father are the licensed crematory operators.
“We are honored to serve families with onsite cremation,” he said. “It is a bit of closure we can offer.”
In addition to owner, Robbie Cody, licensed funeral director and embalmer, Companion has three part-time licensed funeral directors and embalmers on staff: Gary Mayes, James Staton, and Dawn Palmer. Eddie Scoggins, licensed funeral director, also works with Companion on a part-time basis.
Skyler Scoggins is an apprentice funeral director and embalmer. In addition to being the pre-need director, Trae Cody is also an apprentice funeral director.
Other non-licensed assistants include Brad Hoffner, Clay Sneed and Larry Shope.
Tyson Black oversees the Constant Companion Pet services.
Shelli Cody, owner and unlicensed assistant, and Allie Beth Cody, unlicensed personnel, also help in the office.
Cody stated, “We are truly grateful and honored to be able to serve families of Cleveland and Bradley County with the final arrangements of their loved ones. It is a task that we will never take lightly and will always perform with the utmost respect.”
He also stated, “We have recently been approached by one of our competitors to merge and sell our funeral home. We want to reassure the community that we kindly denied that offer, as a result of our strong commitment to offer a completely family owned and operated funeral service. Our chief aim is to serve each family as if it was our own and we feel most equipped to do so when it is only the Cody family assisting each family with their decisions.”