What it means to serve in Marietta

Posted on March 1, 2016 by J. Chad Pendley under Welcome
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Marietta Front Building

As we are coming up on 93 years of service in Marietta it has caused me to think about what it means to serve as a funeral director in Marietta.  Living the life of a funeral director has many benefits and while serving within this community I have been able to experience many more blessings then most people in my industry. There are many funeral homes in small towns all across this great land but very few experience what we as funeral directors at Mayes Ward-Dobbins get to see everyday.


Many people would argue that we have survived as a business by our historic building, downtown location or top tier service but its really because of the support we receive from our community.  I have learned that the people of Marietta are proud people and they take ownership in their community and what operates within it.  While supporting a local business is prideful for many in our town I see our families doing something even more special, I have experienced family members coming in and showing others around the funeral home just like it was their own home, walking into rooms and telling stories about others who have passed or even hearing stories of them being a child and running up and down the staircase and having their parents drag them out by their ears!  Almost every night when we are having a visitation I get pulled aside by someone with them telling me their stories and experiences that has happened in our funeral home.  I have heard so many stories, some extremely funny, some sad or quite honestly… some are quite scary!  These experiences within our building have helped shaped this community and helped preserve the rich traditions of Marietta.  Everyday I witness the community coming together to support a family who has lost someone with love and compassion.  I see people setting up meal plans, sending flower arrangements, starting phone call trees, leaving messages on our tribute walls, sharing service times through social media, asking for prayers and all coming together to support their loved ones and friends.  Its amazing what comfort a family gets when they know their community is behind them.


For many families that enter our doors… it is not their first visit.  Many people feel a sense of comfort knowing that they are coming to honor their loved one in a building that has previously served many of their family members and friends.  Experiencing a loss of a great friend or family member is something that you may never forget but experiencing it again within the same walls reminds you of that previous time and though while it is extremely hard, this season will pass and you will learn to cope with your grief the same way you did before.  Knowing that you are placing your loved one in the same building that their brother, sister, parents and grand parents were in almost brings comfort during a very stressful time.  Funeral Services are based on traditions and for many people in Marietta this is their last home of traditions.  I can tell by the last name of the person we are serving what type of service we will be having, when and where it will be… all because families have their own traditions when it comes to funeral services and it stays the same for many generations.  We have been so honored through out all the years to serve so many families and experience their own traditions right along side of them… we have served every family from dignitaries and politicians to just good ‘ol people with very humble requests and everyone in the middle.  We have experienced very somber and quiet services to having a full rock and roll bands come and the funeral goers dancing with the casket.  During any of these events I will keep hearing… this is just our tradition!  I can tell you that we have seen it all and somethings we may have wished we did not see!

Historic Downtown Marietta…

Many days we have people enter our building just so that they can see inside.  Not to choose it as a funeral home but just because they are enamored with the architecture and style of Historic Marietta.  We love giving tours and showing how homes in the late 1800’s were built.  On any normal day you can walk out our front door onto Church Street and see an artist painting the cityscape over our funeral home, families walking down the sidewalk stopping and pointing a the funeral home, people sitting in traffic gazing through our windows and veterans stopping to salute our flag.  On festival days hundreds of people walk through our parking lot and down our sidewalks and you can hear them telling the people they are with about their experiences they had at our funeral home.  On marathon or 5k days the funeral home is the turning point for most races and every time a group comes by someone makes a funny remark about how this race is going to put them in the funeral home!  Also as it tuns out, our funeral home is a great restroom stop for the long walks to the square!  I love to see the dad running in our front door with his kids and having that look of despair on his face… I can tell they are potty training and its hard to find a public restroom around the square!  Our front porch is lined with the iconic Brumby Rocking Chairs not because we have so much free time to sit and rock but because people love to come and sit in our chairs and drink their coffee while they watch the cars drive by and listen to the bells at St. James.  It has turned out to be more than a funeral home… its a destination stop for many other things.

Food & Entertainment…

Its no secret in the south that we plan our funeral services around food and football.  I was told by a great friend of mine that funerals were just a place where you eat chicken and tell lies!  We are so lucky to be surrounded by many great restaurants and places of entertainment just within walking distance.  Many of our families will leave  after a funeral or visitation and head up to the square to decompress over food and conversation and since we have been here so long some of the local restaurant owners know when we have certain families that they will prepare the dining rooms because they know that they will be there.  Again, its that sense of community where people are thinking of each other and finding ways to help serve them.

The People…

The best thing about serving families in Marietta is the people.  Marietta has people from all walks of life that have been here for many generations as well as “new comers” that have experienced Marietta and decided to call it home.  People from Marietta know the term O.M. and what it stands for.  These are the people that have built and sustained this great city with their works and their service.  There are many great leaders and public figures that call Marietta their home and they have put so much into this community while others who’s names might not ever get mentioned do more for this town then others will ever know.  Being a funeral director in Marietta I get to meet almost everyone because at some point they will eventually have to come into our doors and that is something that I do not take for granted.  I have learned more about this town through conversations then any book or museum could provide, these are stories and experiences told first hand by those people who actually did all these things.  The greatest success in any business is by word of mouth and the people here in Marietta have continued to bless each and everyone on our team through their love and support through years of relationships.  To be a funeral director in Marietta you need to be ready for hugs, kisses, firm handshakes and homemade cakes… its truly an experience to build relationships with the people in our community… and eat their cakes!

I speak for our whole team when I say its a pleasure to serve this great community.  We have recently expanded our historic services into Powder Springs with our new location on Macland Road where we have experienced many of these very same things.  No matter where we go in Cobb County we see a great pride from the people who reside here and we are blessed that Mayes Ward-Dobbins has been a part of these traditions for almost 93 years!

Feel free to poke around our website to read about how your traditions have shaped our business and leave a message describing your experience and stories from the funeral home.  With your permission we will tell share your stories with others… you can email them directly to [email protected]

Chad is a licensed professional and is a native of Cobb County, growing up in Powder Springs and currently living in Marietta Ga. After graduating from McEachern High School Chad attended Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service and graduated as a Master Artist of the Pi Sigma Eta Honorary Mortician Fraternity. He was the recipient of the Bill Pierce award and Daniel E. Buchanan award, recognizing him as a leader in the funeral profession. A member of the Marietta Metro Rotary and different organizations in his profession, Chad also participates in monthly activities promoting the funeral home and networking with other professionals in the area. He is a member and attends Westridge Church in Dallas Ga. He is married to Kristin and as a proud father, Chad enjoys the time he gets to spend with his family. Chad is an avid hunter and a true outdoors man. He has a gift of developing a warm, helpful, and strong relationship with the families he serves and is a valuable source of knowledge at Mayes Ward-Dobbins.

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