Gene Falin began his career in funeral service as a young man under the guidance of E.H. McConnell. Over the next several years, he grew into a compassionate and committed funeral professional, and in 1959, established Gate City Funeral Home in a house located on Park Street with his wife, Juanita, by his side. There, they raised their children whose lives became intertwined with the business of the funeral home, its patrons, friends and neighbors.
Being so close to the business had its downside, of course.
"There were times when we would be ready to leave on vacation, the car packed and ready to go. Then Daddy would get a phone call that someone had died, and we’d unpack the car and go back into house," remembers Bettye Miller, the older Falin daughter, who is now the co-owner and president of Gate City Funeral Home. "We always understood the customers came first. There was a little resentment about that when we were very young, but by learning it early in life, we not only understood my father’s extraordinary commitment to the people of the area, but it became our commitment as well."
In 1962, Gene purchased the property that is now Gate City Funeral Home. Sadly, he did not live to see his dream of building a funeral home for the people of Scott County; an accident took his life on Nov. 4, 1964. Juanita finished the construction of the funeral home and, in late 1965, the doors to Gate City Funeral Home were opened. Juanita operated the funeral home, along with daughter Bettye, grandson Kelly Ison, and many other family members, until health problems prevented her from continuing. Juanita passed away, Dec. 28, 2002, after devoting a lifetime of service to the people of Scott County.
Bettye and Kelly now own the funeral home. Family members including Bettye’s husband, Raymond "Ty" Miller, Funeral Director and Embalmer; daughter, Jamie M. Broadwater, Funeral Director and Embalmer; daughter, Ashley Ison; Kelly’s wife, Diane Ison; granddaughter, Whitney Crawford, and husband, Israel assist in the shared vision of Gene and Juanita Falin. Wonderful associates make the Gate City Funeral Home family complete. Committed to superior service, quality and convenience, Gate City Funderal Home continues to serve the families of Scott County and surrounding communities in the same manner that would make Gene and Juanita proud.
As for the four crosses on the front of the building... "Daddy had instructed the architect to place four large white crosses on the front of the new funeral home. Mother asked why four crosses and not three? He told her that not only was he making a commitment to Scott County, but he was dedicating his entire family as well. Mother made sure those crosses made their way onto the wall and we make sure they stay."
Over the years, there has been much speculation as to the meaning of the crosses, and more than one person has asked about them.
"Each cross represents a member of the family. One for Daddy, one for Mother, one for me and one for my younger sister, Jorita," explains Bettye. "The people of Gate City and beyond can see that my father made the commitment to Scott County himself, and he was dedicating his entire family to the people of this area. We try to live up to that expectation by providing the very best service possible, whether it is through a personal touch, such as bottles of water at a graveside on a hot summer day, or a lap blanket and hand warmers on a cold winter day. Daddy (Gene) was very serious about his commitment and he taught us to take it seriously too. We are a loving family caring for our neighbors with a servant’s heart."
Gate City Funeral Home is not just bricks and mortar... It is a way of life. It is who we are. It is a Commitment.