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Giving peace, comfort, and joy – A new funeral home in Havana celebrates with ribbon cutting and open house.

Havana native Demarien Hawk has opened a funeral home in his hometown.

Located at 115 S. Main Street, Hawk’s Funeral Home and Cremations celebrated an open house and ribbon cutting on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Hawk grew up attending Gadsden County Public Schools, and graduated from East Gadsden High School with honors in 2012.

He worked as a behavior specialist and later a teacher at Havana Magnet School, before leaving the education field in pursuit of becoming a full-time funeral director and business owner.

Hawk’s interest in the funeral business began when he was a child, working at his cousin’s funeral home – Richardson’s Funeral Home in Tallahassee. 

Demarien Hawk

“I started out washing cars and working funerals at the age of 9,” Hawk said. “My passion grew from there.

In addition to years of experience in the field, Hawk has an Associate of Science degree in funeral service from Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Argosy University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Albany State University.

Before opening his own funeral home, he was an adjunct professor at Dallas Institute for Funeral Services.

“It’s always been a  dream to own my own funeral home,” Hawk said. “I started planning and writing things out in 2014.”

Hawk said his dream was deferred when his grandmother, Gwendolyn Morgan-Reed, became ill. He put his plans on hold to help care for her until she died in 2020.

However, Hawk said an opportunity presented itself in the beginning of 2023.

“I was in the financial position, and a historic building was available,” Hawk said.

That building, where Hawk’s Family Mortuary & Cremations is now located, was once Clary’s Funeral Home in Havana.

Since opening last July, the funeral home has served 12 families during their time of bereavement.

Hawk said the most fulfilling part of his job is when families tell him their loved ones looked as though they were sleeping, and when the family members say the services were executed flawlessly, with dignity, and professionalism.

“My  goal is to provide families with every option available, with traditional and non-traditional services, from every walk of life,” Hawk shared.

At 30 years old, Hawk said he is the youngest funeral director, and funeral home owner in this area.

Although he has served as a trade funeral director and embalmer with many funeral homes throughout Florida and South Georgia, He said that is the most difficult part of the business–having to navigate in a field with more seasoned funeral directors.

Being in a profession that deals with a loss on a daily basis can become emotionally taxing, Hawk said he manages his emotional health by maintaining relationships with other funeral directors and people in the industry.

“We share conversations and go to dinner,” Hawk shared.

He also receives support from his brothers of the Pi Psi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Hawk likewise noted traveling helps clear his head.

When he’s not submerged in his work, the young funeral director is volunteering in the community.

A licensed minister, Hawk ministers at Old Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Havana. He’s also a program director with Distinguished Young Gentlemen of America.

As for his legacy, Hawk said even when he is long gone he hopes his funeral home will continue to thrive and remain a pillar in the community.

“I also want to serve as a reminder to any young person, chase your dream and never give up,” Hawk said.

Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service