Plans are to rebuild business started in 1957

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2012

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Though devastated by a lunchtime fire that destroyed Lyerly Funeral Home’s main building Friday, Brent Lyerly said the business will rebuild.
“We will be back, hopefully, with the Lord’s help,” said Lyerly, president of the funeral home.
The four-alarm fire is thought to have been caused by a furnace malfunction. (See main story.)
Lyerly’s has been in business since May 1957, and the building destroyed Friday dates to November 1964. It was located at 515 S. Main St.
Additions came in 1970, 1987 and 1997. The funeral home’s crematorium in the building next door was not damaged.
Lyerly grew up with the business, founded by his late parents, James C. and Willene K. Lyerly
“This is my life in front of me,” Lyerly said. “… I know there is a reason for this.”
The funeral home employs about 15 people. Brent Lyerly is president; his sister, Kathy L. Davis, is executive vice president and corporate secretary.
Rowan County native James C. Lyerly, who graduated from Catawba College and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, organized his own funeral home in 1957 after buying Peeler Funeral Home at 414 S. Main St.
Lyerly Funeral Home operated there until building a new facility at 515 S. Main St. in 1964.
James Lyerly, who died in December 1987, had been a well-known church and civic leader, having led a 1959 drive to build the Rowan Rescue Squad’s station on Julian Road.
Brent Lyerly assumed the duties of president at his father’s death, and he also is a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Kathy L. Davis joined the staff in 1990.
Willene Lyerly was involved in the day-to-day operations of the funeral home up until her death in January 2007.
Most of the funeral home’s vehicles were saved from the fire, and other Rowan County funeral homes have contacted Brent Lyerly to let him know their facilities were available if needed.
Brent Lyerly said funeral homes are part of a “very supportive industry.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.