Calvin is the owner of Good Shepherd funeral home, as well as the vice president of the chamber of commerce. He has lived in Montevallo all his life.
On growing up in Montevallo
“It was kind of like those movies where you knew everyone’s parents, you knew everyone’s lifestyle, you went to school together, you grew up in the same neighborhood, went to church together. I do [enjoy the closeness]- it’s kind of like the TV show Cheers. Everybody knows your name. The thing that makes it different from the big city is that you know all these people, even the people that come in from other towns because they fit in very quickly. It’s like you never meet a stranger except for that first initiation. You meet someone and two or three weeks later it’s like everyone feels like they’ve known you all their life. That’s what’s great about it.”
The family business
"My dad started [the business] in 1994. He’s also a pastor at the church here. It’s been a great family business. They opened it when I was 8 years old, and I grew up into it. I wasn’t in the back dealing with the bodies, but the older I got, the more I got involved with it. It was really like a way of living- it was just nature. You go to school, then you go to the funeral home. I grew up doing it. It was one of those things where I thought I wanted to do something else. Like, 'dad, I don’t see how you do this, it’s really weird, I want to do something else and have something to fall back on'. But when I went to school for it, I fell in love with it, and so I’ve stayed here. I already love the small town, I was enjoying what I did, and that’s what made me stay in Montevallo."
Funerals in a small town
"I’ve done funerals for other funeral homes in Birmingham and it was different. Here, these are people I’ve known for all my life or for a number of years, and I can make it personal. In the big city- not everyone does it- but up there it’s more like you’re a number. You know, once I’m done with you, it’s over with. Down here, it’s that hometown feel, and when it’s all said and done and the funeral’s over, I still see you on a daily basis going to the grocery store, the gas station, at church. I can give you that follow-up experience. It’s more than just, 'okay, we’re going to plan this funeral, and it’s over with'. It’s a step by step transition and you really get used to life without that person being here. Being able to do that is the difference from being in a big city."
The montevallo community
"I see the passion the people here have for Christianity and religion in general, and politics and everything else. I may have an opinion on politics that may not agree with you, or I may have a religious view that doesn’t agree with you, but at the same time we can still sit together. That’s why Montevallo is so great- our views can be different, but we can still be together as friends. You don’t see that everywhere. You can go somewhere else and race can be an issue, the fact that my religion may be different is an issue, the fact that my politics may be different… go 10 minutes up or down the road and that can be so hard. But then you come home to Montevallo and meet someone and none of that really matters. They want to know you for you."
On making a life in a college town
"Parents are always afraid to send their kids off to college. Students are afraid to come to college as it is. But when they come here and they get the feel of Montevallo, that hometown feel, how you can meet people who you’ve never met in your life and feel immediately home… Montevallo will always be a part of your life that you’ll never forget. If you’re going back home to Birmingham, back to the other side of the country, traveling around the world for some new adventure, there’s something about Montevallo that just sticks with you. I don’t think you would find that warmth anywhere else as easily. You come as a stranger, but you leave as family. I do [see myself staying in Montevallo long term]. Unless God just tells me he’ll have me somewhere else, I don’t see myself moving. Being able to experience everything here and having everything I need in an hour away, I don’t think I could find that in too many other places."
The effects of growing up in Montevallo
"Having been to a big city and being from here, I see things different. I guess I’m more open to meeting different kinds of people when I go off because that’s the way I was born and raised in Montevallo. There’s good in everybody- it’s not about looking at the race or the sex of a person. It’s that this person is a human being. That’s what I grew up with. Everybody doesn’t think that when I go to a different city, but I can come back home and it’s like I’m fitting right back in… that’s what made growing up here great."