LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – More than four months after a tornado took its toll on a Lufkin funeral home, the business is celebrating new beginnings.
Gipson Funeral home re-opened for services on Friday, April 23rd. They hosted an open house, showcasing the buildings' repairs and many new additions. The celebration took place Sunday from one until three p.m.
After the December tornado struck, there were empty caskets littering surrounding fields, backyards, some even in trees.
The funeral home, so heavily damaged, business was moved from the South Chestnut facility to another location.
"It's from one side of the building, one corner of the building to the other, actually has had some effects," said general manager Duane Hills. "All sections of the building had some damage to them. In the process of reconstruction, we were able to upgrade some things like our sound system in our chapel and new light fixtures, new ceilings, new furniture."
Hills estimated the tornado caused about one-million dollars in damage. Thanks to community support the funeral home is back open.
"It feels like a new facility to us," he said.
The Angelina County Chamber of Commerce and Lufkin Mayor Jack Gordon came out to kick off the open house with a special ribbon cutting ceremony.
"For them to re-build to the state it's in, it's just a tribute to everyone in Lufkin and certainly this business," said Gordon.
"I think we're going to bounce back strong," said Hills.
A difficult recovery, with a loyal following, gives this facility the confidence it needs to take on a new beginning, while preserving years of history.