Wells Crematory

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 5, 2009

Funeral Directors Tommy (left) and Chris Wells of Wells Funeral Home inspect their new crematory recently installed behind their funeral home on Highway 35 north by contractor Johnny Fowler (right). The elder Wells said he expects the unit to be certified for operation by January 5. The Panolian photo by Rupert Howell

New crematory at Wells latest change among local businesses

By Rupert Howell

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While changes rarely occurred formerly in the local funeral home business, changes now occur regularly at funeral homes including an ownership change and remodeling at Dickins on the Batesville Square and an impressive new facility under construction at Cooley’s Mortuary on Panola Avenue.

And changes are almost constantly occurring at Wells Funeral Home, where most recently a crematorium has been added that is located in the rear of the facility in a separate building.

 Owner Tommy Wells hopes the new addition will serve other area funeral homes in the near future.

Wells says that although there are crematories in Oxford and Tupelo, the one now in Batesville is the first in Panola County and furthest west in North Mississippi, with Greenville and Jackson having the closest from those directions.

 The unit arrived December 29 with the 19,700 lb. crematory being unloaded by a crane from Tupelo.

Wells expects construction to be complete and the unit to be certified by the State Board of Funeral Services and the Department of Environmental Quality by January 5.

With a hydraulic powered door and gas powered furnace that raises the temperature to approximately 1,800 degrees, the crematory takes about four hours to perform its task with the last two of those hours being for cool down.

Sensors in the stack assure that there’s enough gas and air to attain the proper temperature for the unit to do the job.

A circular paper readout is produced with each use to assure proper procedure was followed and every body has a numbered stainless steel tag that stays with the remains once the cremation process is complete.

Wells has taken a course from the Certified Crematory Operations School and his son Chris will take a similar course this February in  Louisville, Kentucky.