Here’s to 50 more years
Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Friends, colleagues and loved ones celebrated several milestones for Carl U. Eggleston Saturday at the Firemen’s Sports Arena.
Eggleston was only 17 when he first went into the funeral service profession in 1968. He was impacted by the closing of Prince Edward County Public Schools, only being able to attend school for two years after moving to Cumberland County. After getting his start with E.B. and Vera Allen from E.B. Allen Funeral Home in Farmville, and apprenticing with E.F. Mimms Funeral Home in Richmond, where he impressed Mimms so much he received a $50 raise within the first week.
He received his associate in mortuary science in 1978 and worked for several funeral homes until establishing his own in 1983. The night celebrated his 50th anniversary in the funeral profession, 40th anniversary as a licensed funeral director and his 35th anniversary of opening the Carl U. Eggleston Funeral Establishment.
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Eggleston wears a lot of hats, and is passionate about a lot of different causes. Saturday was evident of this reality as the speakers included Chavelà Painter with the Virginia Morticians’ Association; Charles White Jr., who is working with Eggleston on Eggleston’s book “Joy and Pain,” which is expected to be published in the near future; a letter read from the Office of the Governor and Sen. Jennifer McClellan; Thomas Johnson, president of the National Negro Golf Association which Eggleston is a member; the Prince Edward County and Nottoway County chapters of the NAACP, representatives of Elks Lodge Chapter 269, who thanked Eggleston for his foundation, which offers school supplies and Christmas gifts to children and families in poverty, and speaker Carl B. Hutcherson, who was in mortuary work with Eggleston.
Eggleston gave his last mortgage payment in July on the funeral establishment on South Main Street. During the event, the Rev. Calvin Gray, Perry Carrington, Eggleston and Barbara Eggleston, Carl’s wife, held a ceremonial burning of the mortgage note.
It was also telling of his humility and commitment to the area that Eggleston, when asked to give his comments during the event, spent his time commending and recognizing everyone except himself.
Eggleston’s extensive work in the Heart of Virginia, including being the first African-American member of the Farmville Town Council, aiding the campaigns of several state officials, including former governor Douglas Wilder, and working with compassion and dignity in a field that often sees the most painful moments of peoples’ lives, deserves to be celebrated.
Eggleston sets an example for each of us to make a difference in our communities, and in the areas in which we are passionate. We echo what other speakers said during Saturday’s ceremony: Here’s to 50 more years.
EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@ FarmvilleHerald.com.