When J.V. Plowman was laid off in the 1950s, he found a job opportunity with the Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel as an ambulance driver. That job would develop into a family-run business over the next 60 years.
Employed by the company exactly one year after its creation on March 1, 1954, the Plowmans purchased it in 1975.
J.V. Plowman served bereaved members of the community faithfully until he retired from the business in 1993, passing away in 2007. Now his wife Norma and some of their children and grandchildren continue to carry on that service to the city of Weatherford.
After the death of her husband, Norma became sole owner of the business while their son James Plowman became the president and manager. Their two daughters, Misty Engel and Angie Hernandez, also joined in the business.
“It’s important that it’s a family business,” Plowman says.
Norma says she has seen many changes over the last 59 years her family has worked there, such as changes in customs, the wishes of the families and also the addition of a crematory.
“I’ve seen lots of changes in it,” Norma says of the life of the business. “It’s really developed over the years.
But what has not change is their dedication to families that approach them after the death of a loved one.
“We treat the families that call on us as if they were part of our own,” Norma says, adding that they gladly take extra steps to help those families who are grieving.“That’s how we’ve impacted the city, is our personal touch and our attention to detail.”
“Taking that extra step to provide the comfort that we can to make it as easy as possible,” granddaughter Angie Hernandez adds concerning their service.
For Plowman in the last week, those extra steps meant traveling to Missouri to serve as preacher during a funeral service. He is also a woodworker and sometimes designs cremation and keepsake urns they provide.
That personal touch, the family believes, is why Weatherford residents and members of other nearby communities come to them.
“We treat this as a ministry to our families,” granddaughter Misty Engel says. “Our job is to make sure that the most difficult day in your life is as easy as we possibly can.”
Norma says their goal is to continue ministering to the community through the Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel in years to come.
“It’s built on dedication, loyalty to our families and continued traditions,” Engel says.
Members of the Plowman family also invest in the community as active members of their church – sometimes leading in its music, participating in the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce and working for the county.
On Friday, leaders and members of the community attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the funeral chapel to dedicate the future of the business to continuing that service while also celebrating the first 60 years in the community.