BALD KNOB Tyler Hyatt of Bald Knob is getting recognition for something he’s been doing most of his life. He was given plaques by the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association for his leadership and dedication to the funeral profession during the state’s annual convention on April 20.
“It’s an honor,” said Hyatt, who is manager and embalmer at Powell Funeral Home. “A representative from the [National Funeral Directors Board] flew in from Alabama to give me that plaque.”
This was Hyatt’s first time to be recognized at the state and national levels for his profession.
He served as president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association for 2012-2013 and will be the group’s immediate past president in 2013-2014.
“[When I was asked to be president], there were hundreds of funeral directors who could have been chosen,” Hyatt said. “I was shocked to get that.”
Hyatt has been involved in the funeral profession for most of his life, but he did find time to attend Northwest Community College in Southhaven, Miss.
“It’s a way of life,” Hyatt said. “Most people [in the funeral profession] have a tie somehow. I grew up in McCrory and did monument work with my dad. I grew up with it.”
In his 20 years at Powell Funeral Home, he has worked in almost every aspect of the profession.
“I can do monument work, and I can dig a grave,” Hyatt said.
Although he still does monument work but doesn’t perform on a daily basis all the other tasks he’s learned in the funeral business, he does know how to do them, and he’s proud of that.
In his spare time, Hyatt said, he likes to go to the lake, hunt, fish and golf with his three children and his wife.
With this job, Hyatt said, “You realize how fragile life is.”
So he tends to be a little overprotective of his children.
At 40 years old, Hyatt said, he doesn’t see retirement coming anytime soon.
“I plan to work until I can’t do it anymore,” Hyatt said. “You become known in your community as ‘the funeral director.’ People come in and ask for me.”
Dealing with death on a daily basis, Hyatt said, his job can be emotionally draining at times.
“When it stops bothering you, that’s when you need to quit doing it,” Hyatt said.
He said the most rewarding part of his job is when a family is satisfied with the funeral he helped arrange.
“When everything is said and done and everyone is pleased with the tribute you’ve made for their family member at the end of the day, and that thank you comes, you can breathe a sigh of relief,” Hyatt said. “There are no do-overs.”
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.