Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our doors we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
We understand the joys and the challenges of the many relationships that touch so many lives. It isn’t just our training that helps us to understand, it's also because of the fact that these relationships so profoundly touch us too. The mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends, neighbors and co-workers that all of you are- we are too.
Through the ups, the downs and everywhere in between, we are not just your funeral home, we are your guides and support. We are your trusted confidantes and your family away from home, wherever life’s journey may take you.
For more than 50 years, Clay-Barnette Funeral Home has specialized in providing the very best in care. From our opening in 1960, to present day, we have upheld the very important traditions of the past and developed the new and innovative traditions of the present and future.
With an emphasis on functionality, comfort and aesthetics, our facility on Dixon Boulevard in Shelby was completed in 1998. Our spacious chapel and visitation rooms, state of the art family conference room and merchandise selection center are just a few of the many details that we have included for your ease and comfort. Since opening, we have redesigned aspects of our facility and our service offerings, ensuring that we always meet the growing needs of every person and every family that we serve.
In 2009, we opened our second location in Kings Mountain, with the same commitment to the highest standards of service, professionalism and accommodation. We revitalized the former Trinity Episcopal Church on Phifer Road to incorporate both the historical as well as the modern comforts of the architecture. From the grand chapel adorned with family-treasured stained glass windows, to the care-free rockers on the front porch, we have created an elegant, yet “homey” respite.
With more than 100 years of combined experience, our dedicated team is founded upon perfection- whether it be in the simplest or the finest of details. We invite you to see what makes us positively different and truly distinguished from the others, for an experience that will far surpass your expectations.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Eric M. Bester
Owner, Funeral Director & Embalmer NC/SC, Aquamationist, B.M.S.
Since the age of 17, I have always strived to serve families with Reverence and Grace. Nearly two decades later, after acquiring Clay-Barnette Funeral Home in Shelby, NC, I have continued my core belief in serving our community, by excelling in the work and service we provide.
As a visionary leader, I continually look for ways to enhance our service to our families. In 2019, I, along with my professional team, were honored to be North Carolina's first funeral home provider of Human Aquamation. We were also honored to be the first complete Aquamation facility in the U.S., offering both Human and Pet Aquamation. In the fall of 2021, we expanded our footprint in North Carolina and opened Tranquility Cremation by Aquamation in Wilmington. As leaders in our profession, we now operate the first and second Aquamation system, covering the entire state of North Carolina and the East Coast.
I will always maintain my focus on providing Comfort and Peace to those who experience loss.
W. Dwight Tessneer
Funeral Director & Embalmer
Funeral Director & Embalmer
Rev. Richard Stroup
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