The Bridge Of Faith

Block Number: 150


On Friday, December 20, 2013, volunteers Mike Lucas and Alan Scholl installed a four by four foot quilt block on the building of Kirksey Funeral Home and Crematory located in downtown Marion. The block, entitled “The Bridge of Faith”, is the 150th on the McDowell Quilt Trail.

Joseph Gayden Swann, Funeral Director, expressed that the business has a long evolving history of over 100 years. It was in 1908 that C. R. McCall founded the original business serving under the name of The McCall Funeral Home. It was a private, family run independent business that later included an ambulance service until 1961 when the E.M.S. took over that portion. C.R.’s son Charles McCall joined the firm and eventually leased it to Kirksey Funeral Home out of Morganton, operating under the joint name of McCall-Kirksey Funeral Home. The 1977 merger eventually lead to the purchase of the entire business by Kirksey and the McCall name was dropped; however the chapel of the funeral home is named the McCall Memorial Chapel.

Today the home is owned by Service Corporation International, an American provider of funeral goods and services including cremation, headquartered in Houston, Texas. SCI is a network of successful existing businesses that allows the original name of the home to be retained and often the former owners stay in management.

SCI is recognized as “Dignity Memorial” providers which “offer exclusive benefits, including National Transferability of Prearranged Services, the Bereavement Travel Program, the 24-hour Compassion Helpline and access to an acclaimed grief management library.” As North America’s largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services, the Dignity Memorial brand assures a wide array of funeral services offering compassionate quality, care, support and comfort to those coping with emotions. Kirksey Funeral Directors “treat you with dignity and in a way that they themselves would want to be treated under the same circumstances.” In addition to the Marion facility, Kirksey Funeral Home and Crematory has locations in Valdese, Morganton and Old Fort. They can accommodate any religious practice and offer services before, during and after the ceremony at graveside.

Chris Besoiu, Manager and Funeral Director of Kirksey, states that he had noticed and admired the quilt blocks throughout the county for some time. After Tony Silver heard a presentation by Quilt Trail Chairman Jill Lucas at a Rotary meeting the two discussed hosting a block with personnel. Office Manager Diane Kadlec thought it was a really good idea and all agreed it would express community pride and connection.

Chairwoman Jill Lucas presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Chris J.Besoiu along with other staff Candi Blankenship, Funeral Director; Tony Silver, Funeral Director/Advance Funeral Planning Specialist; Diane Kadlec, Office Manager; Joseph G. Swann, Funeral Director; Alice Hughes, Funeral Attendant; Liz Harbin, Funeral Director Apprentice; Keith Gibbs, Funeral Attendant; Lisa Gibson, Funeral Attendant. Not available were Wayne Holland, Funeral Attendant and Ken Gaddis, Funeral Attendant.

“The Bridge of Faith” is an original design depicting rays of light descending through a blue sky down to the mountains and a bridge “crossing over” a river to the “other side”. The focus point is a pair of pretty Iris flowers named after the ancient Greek goddess who was considered the messenger between mortals and the gods. It was believed she lead the dead to the afterlife and acted as a guide in their journey.

In Greek mythology the goddess Iris acted as the swift messenger to Olympus and traveled as a mediator between the lands of human beings and the gods. As a link between Earth and Heaven she is symbolic of communication and implies a message of faith, hope, valor and wisdom. The personification of Iris was the rainbow and because of its many varied colors, as in the rainbow, the flower, was given her name. The Iris, with more than 300 species, is found in most regions of the world, both in the wild and as a popular garden plant. It is often the choice for a sympathy gift occasion to convey deep sentiments.

Number 150 on the McDowell Quilt Trail, this impressive block may be viewed quite easily from the road on the front of the Kirksey Funeral Home at 69 North Main Street.

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