Roberts brings event planning expertise to Coleman Funeral Home

Posted on September 7, 2016 by Errol Castens under People
Leave a comment

Jeremy Roberts has organized and catered many a fundraiser, sports celebration, kids’ carnival, beauty pageant and other happy occasion. As Coleman Funeral Home’s event services coordinator, he’s finding satisfaction in using his visual, organizational and culinary skills to blend the sobering and celebratory natures of memorial events.

Jeremy Roberts, Event Coordinator

Jeremy Roberts, Event Coordinator

“Instead of appealing to 400 individuals who come to a public event, I can work on something specific to one family,” Jeremy says. Inspirations for visitations and funerals can range from favorite colors and patterns to passions such as sports loyalties, hobbies, and professions. One recent commemoration featured an outdoor theme with camouflage table runners and linens along with flowers in hunter’s orange.

Roberts also works on some happier occasions. One client asked him to plan a gathering for friends at Coleman Funeral Home’s Oxford location to celebrate her departed husband’s birthday.

“Because this was a while later, she really had time to think about it,” Roberts recalled. “She knew she wanted to do a little luncheon, but it was also a memorial, so we could dress the place up.” After interviewing the client, he decorated the venue with several items from her home, including books her husband had authored and model airplanes that reflected his meticulous craftsmanship.

“Everything tells a story,” Jeremy says.

As a visual thinker, he particularly enjoys organizing all the elements that go into visitations, funerals and even the weddings and family reunions sometimes held at Coleman Funeral Home’s Oxford facility.

“The way my brain works, when we’re talking about planning an event, I can see it from beginning to end,” he said. “Somebody will come to me with an event and ask for an idea, and I can basically plan the whole thing and give it back to them. That’s the ‘fun’ part of my job – coming up with new things.”

Varied career
Jeremy Roberts’ path to coordinating events at Coleman Funeral Home was not a predictable one. The Jackson, Mississippi, native had been involved in planning celebrations and commemorations as far back as high school before earning dual degrees in English and hospitality management at the University of Mississippi. While planning events for athletics department at Ole Miss, he also completed a master’s degree in sports administration at the University of Memphis.

Roberts began teaching at Ole Miss after being asked to lead an event management class. His first venture to the other side of the lectern was typical of the quick turnaround required in hospitality careers.

“I had from Thursday to Tuesday to get everything ready. I had never taught before, but the class had an event built into it that I had helped start as a student, so I knew what we were doing,” he said. With an eye toward a doctorate in higher education, he now teaches introductory courses for freshmen and transfer students.

Roberts admits the idea of working at a funeral home was a bit daunting before he visited the new Coleman facility in Oxford.

“This has a different look and feel than a conventional funeral home,” he said. “That’s one of the things that attracted me. It’s so open and airy and rustic, and I can design around those elements.” (The company has a similar building under construction in Olive Branch, next to the YMCA.)

Even more than the architecture, Jeremy likes the singular focus on serving one family at a time.
“Here you’re not sharing the space with five other families, with a placard in the front that says, ‘Smith this way; Jones this way.’ When you come here, it’s everybody for that one family. That makes things feel more special.”

Aftercare coordinator, Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford/Olive Branch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *