WICHITA — After five years in partnership at Biglow-Bethea Funeral Directors, Robert Bethea now has his own business.
Robert J. Bethea Jr. Funerals & Cremations has opened at 615 W. Maple across from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
For a number of reasons, Bethea says he felt like he needed to make a change. It happened remarkably fast – it took three weeks – once he found a building.
“God blessed me with a new location,” Bethea says of finding the 7,260-square-foot space.
Bethea says he’ll offer cremations and funerals, including dove releases and horse-drawn carriages for funerals.
For now, his fleet is one hearse, which he’ll augment with limousine rentals. Eventually, Bethea says he plans to have an in-house limo service. He’ll also have an in-house crematorium.
“We couldn’t get everything in time,” he says.
Bethea also will offer notary services.
Before working at Biglow-Bethea, Bethea says he worked with a number of other funeral homes.
“I’ve been in the funeral business since I was 15,” he says.
His stepfather paid his way through dental school by working in a mortuary.
Bethea says his stepfather told him he could be either a dentist or a mortician. At 15, Beathea embalmed his first body, which he enjoyed. He says his decision was easy after that.
Within an hour of getting licensed last week, Bethea says he had his first call for a funeral.
“I was just like, praise God.”