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Carter-Trent Funeral Homes strive to offer skillful, compassionate service

Amanda J. Vicars • Nov 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Death is feared and dreaded by many, often entering the realm of subject topics deemed "unmentionable." For the select few, however, death is something to be revered; it is simply another part of life one must transition into. The staff of Carter-Trent Funeral Homes represent these few - skilled in their profession, yet refined with the finesse to help ease the difficulty of a person's transition from life to death for their surviving loved ones.

Carter-Trent has been building their repertoire for skillful, compassionate service in the downtown Kingsport area for the better part of a century.

The original funeral home, which stood as the present Carter-Trent Funeral Home does at 520 Watauga Street, would be considered uncustomary by today's standards; it was a two-story white house. Owned and operated by the late J.W. Huff and J. Frank Nelson, the house called Huff Funeral Home opened to the public in 1920.

In 1954, Huff Funeral Home was purchased by Bill Carter and Frank Clemon, becoming Carter-Clemon Funeral Home. After helping found another local funeral home in 1959, Dean Trent would later take over Carter-Clemon, giving it the household name generations of citizens of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee have come to recognize: Carter-Trent Funeral Homes.

Since the 1950s, Carter-Trent Funeral Home has undergone many structural and interior design changes to remain current and to accommodate the needs of the "community that we serve," Dean Trent, current partner at Carter-Trent said.

The Kingsport office has been fully remodeled in the last 20 years and the business expanded to include two other locations: one in Church Hill, Tenn., and another in Scott County, Va.

Since Carter-Trent has grown so has its management team. Alongside Trent, his cousin, Terry Hurley, Funeral Director and Bloomingdale Baptist member (employed at Carter-Trent since 2004) and his nephew, Brent Warner, Temple Baptist member and Funeral Director/Embalmer since 1996 (employed with Carter-Trent since 1991) manage the business.

Though Carter-Trent has seen change over the years, one thing has always remained constant: Trent's desire to serve the community. A desire that has burned within him since an early age.

Trent moved to the region with his parents at age 5. His father, Rex, owner of the once-renown local restaurant, Peggy Ann's, instilled in him the value of serving others. For Trent, becoming a funeral director at age 21 wasn't that far-fetched an idea.

"It's been his way of showing Christian love and compassion to his friends throughout the community," Seth Presley, manager, funeral director and embalmer at the Kingsport location for Carter-Trent, explained.

Trent, recently honored by the Tennessee Funeral Director's Association for 50 years of licensed funeral service, has no doubt influenced those around him; his deep-rooted values and fervor for helping those in their greatest moment of crisis are shared by his family and the staff of Carter-Trent.

Trent and his wife of 55 years, Martha, are both longtime members of Temple Baptist Church and have worked side-by-side at the funeral home for most of their marriage. Their three daughters, Judy Addington, Deana Steadman and Jodi Redwine, all work out of the Kingsport office, carrying on the family tradition.

The staff of Carter-Trent, made up of 26 part-time and full-time employees from the three locations, are each educated in their own right, having gone to school for their profession and achieved varying levels of degrees. The employees have a "well-rounded knowledge of all religions and burial practices," and are equipped and willing to work the long hours required of them. Their passion and professionalism exceed any stress brought on by what others may view as a grueling occupation.

Carter-Trent is open all day, year-round. They offer traditional burial, cremation, after-care and counseling for loved ones; serving all faiths.

Innovative and dedicated, the skilled team at Carter-Trent Funeral Homes is there to help families through the last transition of their loved one's life, in as unique a way as the individuals who have passed on.

"We create through memorialization, special memories of that person's life," Presley said.

For more information on the services or staff of Carter-Trent Funeral Homes, visit http://www.cartertrent.com/ or call 423-245-4101 for the Kingsport location; 423-247-4811 or 276-386-7021 for the Weber City, Va., location or 423-357-0808 for the Church Hill, Tenn., location.

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