Howell County News/ Amanda Mendez

Yarber Mortuary Celebrates 25 Years in Business

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Yarber Mortuary in Mountain View. The Yarber family currently operates five funeral chapels in Mountain View, Willow Springs, Birch Tree, Eminence, and Winona.
Gary Yarber was licensed as a mortician and funeral director on June 20, 1996. He opened the chapel in Mountain View with the help of his wife Carla that year. 
Gary had been in the mortuary business since graduating high school. His first job out of high school was working for Mr. Joe Duncan. When the opportunity presented itself for the Yarbers to open their own funeral home, Gary and Carla agreed that the leap was only possible because of the overwhelming encouragement they received from members of the community.
“We were hometown kids,” Gary said.
High school sweethearts, Carla and Gary are both members of the Liberty High School class of 1982.
In the first few years of Yarber Mortuary, Carla was employed outside of the family business but assisted Gary in the funeral home whenever she could. She was licensed as a funeral director in 1999 and joined the business full-time in 2006.
By 2014, it was time to expand. Their son Luke Yarber had attended mortuary school and joined the business. 
The Yarbers opened their second location in Willow Springs when Luke joined the business.  The remaining three locations became Yarber locations when the family bought the Duncan Funeral homes in 2018.
Maintaining small funeral chapels in the original locations was very important to them, Carla explained.
“Serving the local folks, giving them the opportunity to honor their loved one at home is important. It’s important to give them an opportunity to stay in their local town,” she said.
Originally from Birch Tree herself, Carla said, “I remember going to funerals for my own family in the Birch Tree chapel. It's important to me to take care of the local people in their hometowns.”
Balancing a family and a business has certainly been interesting for the Yarbers over the last 25 years
“My role in the early years was to take care of the family,” Carla said, “I did the books but I did it at night or after hours.”
Some of their fondest memories in the business are all tied up in their family memories.
“I remember the boys getting off the school bus right out here in front of the chapel. If we had people here, the boys knew to go straight upstairs. If we were taking care of a family, they knew to be as quiet as possible,” Gary recalled.
“Now our grandkids do the same things,” Carla added
With a smile, Carla recalled that their other son Chase still comes in the back door when he comes home to visit.
Gary said he thinks raising his sons in the funeral industry taught them compassion and respect, and he hopes that they still take that mindset wherever they go in life.
In any industry, 25 years in business is an enormous achievement. For the Yarbers, they say that community loyalty and the connections that they have made, especially in the Mountain View community, have been the key to their success.
“We just want to take care of our people” Carla said, “It's hard for us to go home early.”
“It has always humbled us," Gary said.''I just want to be thankful to the community. We are community-minded people. We have always been overwhelmed and so grateful for the support we have received.”
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