Bubba Woodfin was “the perfect recipe” for working as a funeral home director, his eldest daughter says.
Shannon Parsons shared some of her memories of her father, the late director of Woodfin Funeral Chapel. He died July 4 at 85.
The mortuary was started by Woodfin’s great-grandfather in 1893.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Katherine “Kay” Shannon Woodfin; daughters, Shannon Parsons and her husband David of Murfreesboro, Katherine “Kit” Ramsay and her husband Chuck of Murfreesboro, Melissa Combs and her husband Ron of Brentwood, and Ashley Backer and her husband John of Lexington, Kentucky, according to his obituary.
Parsons said her father had the right temperament for the funeral business, but often said he wanted to be a farmer. Over time, he realized he was suited to the mortuary. And he was one of the best role models for his daughters, she said.
“I can’t tell you how many people have called or written and told me how Dad helped them in one way or another through the most difficult time of their life,” Parsons said. “He had the right mixture of a great recipe” and was compassionate.
He gave families dignity and intermixed the right amount of humor, just enough, to make them feel at ease, she said.
Woodfin had not been sick, but his body “was given out,” she said. “He never complained one time. Mom really took good care of him. He leaned on her a lot.”
Woodfin was well-known for baking cornbread for families, she said.
“It was really more like cake because it was so sweet — but it was delicious,” she said. “Families began to request” certain amounts of cornbread. “He loved doing it. It seemed that it could only happen in the South.”
Woodfin saw many changes in his industry over the years, Parsons said. He rode with his father on the ambulance, which funeral homes operated until the early 1970s when the county took over the service.
She said she was impressed by how forward-thinking he was, more so than many in his generation. He saw the need to expand the chapel’s services to things like cremations and “green funerals.” She said Woodfin was the first funeral home in Rutherford County to offer cremations.
“I don’t think my dad had any regrets. I think he loved being a funeral director,” she said. “He would sometimes say, ‘I’m just an old country undertaker.’ He loved helping others, and he was very good at it.”