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September 27th, 2023

Brenneman Funeral home Assistant Funeral Director Charlie Maddox stops for a photo in front of the facilities sign on a windy day last week. Maddox has worked with Brenneman Funeral Home in Liberal for many years and in his time has seen many changes with the facility, including the purchase of the facilty by Mike (who, like Maddox, had served in law enforcement before entering the funeral home business) and Kelly Hornung in the fall. L&T photo/Elly Grimm

• Leader & Times

Licensed Assistant Funeral Director Charlie Maddox of Brenneman Funeral Home has worked in the Liberal community for several years and also serves as a pre-arrangement counselor at the funeral home.

Q: Could you give some background on yourself? (i.e. how long you’ve been with Brenneman Funeral Home, how long you’ve worked with the Liberal community, etc.)
A: I came to Liberal in 1977 and worked for the Liberal Police Department. I had previously worked with the Kingman County Sheriff’s Department and some of the officers from Kingman came to Liberal to work, so I came out and visited one weekend and decided Liberal was the right move and all these years later, I’m still here.

Q: What originally got you interested in the funeral home line of work?
A: I had worked at the paper under Larry Howell and I had left the paper and Larry knew I had retired from the police department and the barbecue business I’d had. I was eventually contacted by Larry and he indicated Rick and Melissa Brenneman wanted to visit with me. We did have a visit and they hired me to come on board to help with pre-arrangements. I did that and had my background on law enforcement and being on the street. So Rick got me licensed as an assistant funeral director under his license and now I can do everything except embalming.

Q: What are some things you particularly like about being in the funeral home line of work?
A: You work with families at one of the worst times in their lives to guide and direct them through the process of making all the arrangements they want for their loved ones. It’s a service helping others and that’s what helps keep me going.

Q: Mike and Kelly Hornung purchased the funeral home back in 2017. How has that transition been for everyone?
A: It’s been a great and smooth transition, they’re extremely wonderful to work for. Mike and Kelly had moved to Liberal a year prior to purchasing the funeral home and he’d worked for Rick and Melissa so there was that solid foundation and he had a good understanding himself from having worked in the funeral business and getting his training in Denver. Then Chuck Bowman and his wife, Connie, are Kelly’s parents and he’d also worked in law enforcement and the funeral home business for several years and managed a home in Denver, so Chuck’s got vast experience in that and he recently got elected president of the National Funeral Homes Association.

Q: What do you enjoy about working here in the Liberal community?
A: Serving the people, that’s really it. Any industry you go into is very service-oriented and working to provide services to the public.

Q: What all services does Brenneman Funeral Home provide?
A: We do a complete service that the family would want, whether it’s a full burial with a viewing and church or chapel service or a cremation or a graveside service. Anything they want to arrange, we help them take care of it.

Q: For the families who come to Brenneman Funeral Home and in that difficult time, what is some advice staff gives as far as arrangements and everything?
A: We go through the process and all the options we have for whether it’s a full service or a family-only service, a cremation, whatever they happen to decide. We go through all the options with them and let them decide what they want, our objective is to provide the service the family wants to have.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or anything else you think would be relevant to put?
A: I would encourage any young folks who are looking for a profession to take a look at the funeral industry, it’s great for those who are more service-oriented.