The family business has become a rare commodity. With large corporations buying up family businesses in every industry, a generational business will soon be looked upon as just a fond but fading memory. Rarer still is a business that has a long history and, in a country that is only 220 years old, a family legacy of over 150 years is quite impressive!
Milner and Orr Funeral Homes combines a long-standing business with a family history going back six generations. “It’s not just a business, it’s a way of life,” says Randy Orr. “We get calls at all times of the day and night and you have to respond. When people are grieving they shouldn’t have to worry about all the details involved. We’re here to provide that service as quickly and compassionately as possible. This profession isn’t for just anyone. You have to really want to be here and help people.
It’s that same philosophy which has kept the Orrs loyal clients of The Paducah Bank and Trust Company. “We feel like Paducah Bank is a part of our family. From the first day that we met with Joe Framptom to discuss a loan for our expansion in Paducah, we felt comfortable,” Andrea Orr recalls. “Joe’s family was in the funeral business for years so he was able to help us with financial advice as well as personal experience. Even though he was president at the time, he took the time to be personally involved in everything we did. He quickly became a friend to all of us—my husband, myself, and my mother, Judith Milner. We can’t imagine banking with anyone we would feel more at home with.”
In The Beginning
In 1837, Levi Lowe, Andrea Orr’s great, great grandfather, moved to Western Kentucky and opened a general store in the town he founded— Lowes. In those days, at the passing of a family member, it was customary to go out and cut a cane or bean pole the length of the body and deliver it to the general store. The owner would then build or outfit the casket. From there the body would be laid out for mourning in one’s own home.
In 1922, Roy Lowe, the second generation of the Kentucky family, went to school to learn embalming and was one of the first to be licensed in the state. With the addition of a horse-drawn hearse, the Lowes were on their way to a growing business. In 1957, the Lowe’s first funeral parlor burned. Later that year, Roy, along with his daughter, Judith and her husband, Bill Milner, built a new facility in Graves County and by 1958 had acquired three others.
Andrea Milner Orr was the first woman to attend and graduate from Mid-America College of Funeral Service. And she did it while expecting her first child! “Brandon was born during my second quarter of school,” Andrea remembers. While in college at Murray State University, she met and married Randy Orr and soon a family business was making its way into the communities of Western Kentucky. Today Milner and Orr operates six funeral homes in Western Kentucky which provide a sense of family at a time of sorrow.
Milner and Orr’s funeral homes are more than beautiful buildings. Just as love and caring make a house a home, the same philosophy applies here. And the entire staff at Milner and Orr lives that philosophy every day.
Serving families at a time of tragedy and loss is a commitment fraught with difficult emotion. Randy and Andrea Orr live by a corporate credo of treating each individual and family who asks for their assistance with the kind of attention that they would want for their own loved ones. That corporate philosophy is shared by their bankers and friends at Paducah Bank Randy and Andrea Orr believe, “If it’s important enough for someone to ask, it’s important enough for us to do.”