Justin Baxley is used to accommodating families, and the following particular request was no exception. The family had described their loved one’s affection for Harleys, and the team at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services was intent on fulfilling their wish of including the motorcycle in the proceedings.
“We worked with Harley-Davidson of Ocala, and they loaned us a Deluxe Softail to put in our chapel for the service,” says Baxley, president of the venerable family-owned business. “Every life has a story, and we try to learn that story and then give the family options on what they can do. We make the funeral ceremony a personal reflection of the life that was lived.”
Some things haven’t changed over Hiers-Baxley’s 125 years. Baxley and his team, a group of over 100 employees in six locations throughout Central Florida, handle families’ needs with the same heartfelt compassion and unwavering commitment that has made the company Ocala’s funeral home of choice for generations. Whether it’s holding a service on a softball field for a man who loved to play the game or organizing a quiet, simple funeral at a local church, Hiers-Baxley prides itself on going above and beyond each family’s expectations.
Today, this often means using technology to improve service, an approach Baxley describes as “bringing modern traditions to an ancient profession.”
“What we do has been around since biblical times. Every culture across all of human history has defined ways to remember and be remembered,” he says. “Today, that’s still what we do. We care for and bring dignity to the deceased, but we also use technology to our benefit to give families options they may never have thought of before.”
The difference begins with Hiers-Baxley’s newly improved website.Here, clients have many options that only the latest technology affords. Those options range from researching advance planning options from the comfort of their own home to accessing their loved one’s Life Tributes Memorial Website. The Life Tributes Memorial Websites are an optional, pre-designed webpage that allows family and friends to share photos, videos, and written memories of loved ones with each other.At its Silver Springs Blvd location, Hiers-Baxley can even stream live video of a funeral for guests who were unable to attend the service, which can even be recorded and then rebroadcast via the Internet.
Hiers-Baxley also uses computers and specialized software to go over arrangement choices with families during their private conferences. In addition to collecting the loved one’s personal information, which is used to generate memorial printed products and any necessary legal documents, the software shows family members casket or urn options with examples of personalization. Hiers-Baxley can also compile personal photos for a Life Tribute Memorial DVD, which is then played during the service.
Technology has even changed the permanent cemetery memorial. The Celebration of Life Memorial located at Highland Memorial Park is very special.A glass-front columbarium, the Celebration of Life Memorial is accessible to family members by key code only and features a temperature-controlled, interior room with comfortable seating for quiet reflection. Additionally, in lieu of standard bronze memorials, Hiers-Baxley can now eternalize photographs of a loved one with a full‑color Lasting Memories bronze. Mounted on granite, these unique plaques capture a person’s life story, forever.
The greatest measure of Hiers-Baxley’s success can be found in the clients’ feedback. Appreciative family members regularly write or call with thanks.
“The memorial video was done with dignity [and] was overwhelming to all that viewed it,” wrote Lorraine Cabe, who was assisted by funeral director Joseph Waddington. “I can’t say enough about the services I received. Joseph went above and beyond in spending time with me [and] was very caring and considerate at this difficult time. When it’s my turn to go, I only hope that he will still be there for me.”
Indeed, the Hiers-Baxley team is renowned for leaving no stone unturned in easing families’ burdens during their most trying time. Clients can even hold a reception at the funeral home, and the staff will coordinate the catering. This extra effort, Baxley stresses, is simply part of Hiers-Baxley’s philosophy.
“A life well lived is a life worth remembering,” he says. “Our role is to give each and every family the tools to do that.”
Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services
910 SE Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala
Locations in Ocala, Belleview, Chiefland, TimberRidge and The Villages