Arkansas Funeral Directors Meet for Annual Convention

Mar 3, 2016 | News & Announcements

Brenda Beltrani
Legacy Consulting
[email protected]

For Immediate Release:


LITTLE ROCK, ARK–This past weekend, the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association held their annual convention  February 26th-27th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

During this year’s convention, the AFDA enjoyed record-breaking attendance from member funeral homes.  The convention kicked off with a cocktail reception hosted by Selected Funeral and Life Insurance Company at its historic headquarters in downtown Hot Springs. The building is an architectural wonder and a true community landmark. The entire second floor of the building bustled with attendees while a jazz trio serenaded with classic tunes. The reception was followed by an elegant awards banquet held at The Regency in downtown Hot Springs.

President Sarah Wilkerson Casteel, of Wilkerson Funeral Homes in De Queen and Dierks, led the banquet and provided a review of the organization’s activities in the previous year. In addition to passing the gavel to incoming president Don Martin of Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home in Siloam Springs, Mrs. Casteel also presented awards and honors to those with distinguished service in the industry. The association inducted Courtney C. Crouch, Jr. of Selected Funeral and Life Insurance Company of Hot Springs, Billy Holifield of Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville, the late D.R. “Bobby” Powell of Powell Funeral Home in Bald Knob in the Funeral Director’s Hall of Fame. In addition, it recognized the Ralph Robinson family, a 5th generation funeral home in Jefferson County as the Arkansas Funeral Home family of the year. This year’s award for Funeral Director of the Year went to the president of Roller Funeral Homes, Mr. Bill Booker.

The convention continued the following day with a breakfast saluting past presidents of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, the annual business meeting and continuing education sessions. The convention concluded with an afternoon luncheon at Oaklawn, where the third race was dedicated to AFDA Past Presidents.

This year’s sponsors included the National Funeral Directors Association, Federated Insurance and Story Clip. The board for the new year was inducted and includes Don Martin-President; Brad Hays –President Elect; Jason Engler-Vice President; Bobby Burns-Secretary; Kenny Culpepper-Treasurer; Renata Byler-Policy Board Representative and Sarah Wilkerson Casteel-Past President.  AFDA’s day to day operations are led by Legacy Consulting.

The Arkansas Funeral Directors Association is the leading organization for the funeral home industry and serves its members through continuing education, advocacy and public relations. The association exists to allow Arkansas funeral homes to work together to maintain the industry’s highest standards of excellence and service. 

To learn more about the AFDA, visit

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