Woodard Funeral Home & Cremation Services

by Tonya Dixon | January 9th, 2015

www.shawphotographygroup.com 2014For the past 17 years, Woodard Funeral Home, Inc. has been a “family serving families” through excellence in service, dedication and hard work kind of business. It’s more than just a business. It’s a legacy founded on a dream and built through hard work. In a relatively short period of time Woodard Funeral Home has emerged as Greensboro’s top provider in funeral services.

The exceptional business operates with the same noteworthy and imitable attributes that its founder, owner and patriarch, Rev. Lester D. Woodard personified his entire life. Born in Wilson, N.C. in 1937, Lester Woodard, the funeral home’s namesake, developed a strong and sincere work ethic at the tender age of 14 years old. While friends were attending high school and college, he had to mature quickly and work. He stepped into the role of family provider and caretaker, but he was up to the challenge and took it very serious. It was the beginning of his “journey from the wilderness to the promised land.”

Rev. Woodard knew he would be successful and so would his family. He had dreams and after working and toiling for decades he decided it was time to fulfil a lifelong dream of owning a funeral home.

In 1996, Woodard, along with his wife, Annie Lawson Woodard, and son, Reginald, founded what would within six years of operation become one of the largest African American funeral homes in the state of North Carolina. From the remains of an old, abandoned restaurant, Woodard Funeral Home grew exponentially. In fact, the growth was so quick the business initially had the business had to expand. Any financial gains were immediately funneled back into the business and within three years Woodard Funeral Home soared to being the number one black owned funeral home in Greensboro.

Rev. Woodard was quoted as saying, “I believed in myself and success is about attitude. It’s like in winning you have to believe you can do it. If you believe in yourself, and have a positive attitude and have the ability to deal with adversity, things will get better. When you have dreams you must take action for it to come true. You don’t wait for dreams to happen you make them happen, and you must continue to make them happen.”

Not only did Rev. Woodard have a mighty dream, but he put his own words to the test and pursued after his dream. He worked it; he grew it and he persevered through the adversity that every new business encounters. Moreover, it wasn’t just Woodard’s dream, it was a family dream. Reginald was already a licensed funeral director with years of experience and he commenced to take on the role as managing funeral director for approximately 16 years until his untimely death; barely ten weeks after the unexpected death of Annie Lawson Woodard, the matriach of the family.

Reginald represented a great deal of the experience of the business, and Annie lovingly cared and mothered on each and every family entrusted to Woodard’s care. The Woodard family and business rallied and remained steady, resilient and determined to continue being one of the best funeral homes in the business and offer the best service possible despite their significant losses.

Every aspect of Woodard Funeral Home is designed to accommodate the sensitive needs of grieving and bereaved families, including everything from the prime location directly off of a major highway and situated less than a mile from a major cemetery, to housing the largest capacity chapel (up to 250 individuals) in the city, to careful, specialized and professional enhancing care of deceased loved ones to a certified and trained full-time staff. Woodard handles each case with a loving white glove approach.

woodardThe Woodard family keenly and gracefully tows the line between the business of funerals and the emotional toil of death. Death is a difficult subject and requires the expertise of experienced individuals. “One of our fortes is the ability to counsel families,” says CFO, Donzell Woodard. “With my father being a minister and my background in counseling we are able to help people bridge the gap between dying, living with the death of a loved one and being able to reconcile with the inevitable truth of death. We understand that everyone grieves differently and understanding the grieving process is essential to the business. We can sit down and talk with families about their grief and if we don’t feel like we have the adequate skills necessary to assist someone we have access to other resources.”

Woodard recommends and encourages families to utilize the businesses’ pre-needs services. They believe the service to be so important, especially within the community, they actively give pre-need seminars to churches to explain the service and its importance. More often than not pre-need policies are covered in new and existing insurance policies. Donzell and the rest of the Woodard family knows from first-hand, recent experience that making pre-needs arrangements takes a huge burden off the already weighted shoulders of loved ones in the most difficult times.

In addition to the stellar services that Woodard already offers, the funeral service is growing and positioning itself to better serve other families. Most recently, additional land was acquired adjacent to the building and plans are well underway to erect a fellowship hall for families to enjoy a meal following funeral services. Moreover, a crematory will be built in the near future. In order to expand capabilities, Woodard is establishing itself as a fully-licensed, worldwide transport service.

The possibilities and drive is endless when it comes to relieving the stress of a distraught family. Woodard is determined to make sure every desire and need is fulfilled even if it means live-streaming a funeral service for family members unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. They aren’t afraid to go the extra mile for others comfort.

It was because of the sacrifices of Rev. Lester and Annie Woodard and the superior knowledge of Reginald and the business savvy of so many others of the Woodard family that Woodard Funeral Home now stands alone at the top. Woodard understands that loved ones should be treated with respect, dignity and care.

Moreover, Donzell Woodard says they are simply the foundational principles and reasons why Woodard Funeral Home, Inc. has been so successful. The Woodard name carries a brand that stands for excellence, exceptionalism and professionalism. Families who entrust the care of their loved ones to Woodard can rest assured that no detail will go missed and no loss deemed insignificant as it continues to serve families in years to come.

Photos by Shaw Photography Group

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