History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Mr. William C. and Sue Belle Bryan moved to Walnut Ridge in 1935 as manager of the Gregg Funeral Home after joining the Gregg Funeral Home in Jonesboro and being made manager at the Gregg Funeral Home in Monette, Arkansas. Upon seeing an opportunity to own their own business, the Bryan's purchased the Johnson Funeral Service in 1943 which was sold later and became the Higginbotham Funeral Service in 1947. The Johnson Funeral Service building and property was donated to the Aurora Masonic Lodge Post #423 for their meetings of which W.C. was a past member, transferring his membership to the Hoxie Lodge #692 and the Charles Chapter #410 Order of the Eastern Star, and Sue Belle a member of the Charles Chapter #410 Order of the Eastern Star.

Mr. Bryan, or W.C. as friends became accustomed to calling him, and his wife, Sue Belle and their daughter, Edith Sue Bryan moved to Hoxie in 1948 following a short term where Mr. Bryan tried his hand at the Champion Fluid Company as a salesman. Seeing that being a salesman on the road wasn't his calling nor gave the satisfaction that serving his fellow man provided, Mr. Bryan moved to Hoxie and founded the Bryan Funeral Home in 1948, followed by loyal customers and friends that had become accustomed to the Bryan services that had followed Mr. Bryan from funeral home to funeral home in his search to better serve his friends and community.

Bryan Funeral Home was one of the first funeral homes in the State to have been designed with funeral service in mind, while most of the other funeral homes were in renovated older homes. The funeral home can boast of one of the first modern embalming rooms in the state along with a qualified licensed staff and modern dignified transportation.

The Bryan's were joined in business with their daughter and son in law, Robert F. (Bob) and Edith Sue Warden, in 1955 following their graduation from mortuary school in Dallas, Texas. Bob and Sue Warden earned their embalmers and funeral director licenses in 1957 under the guidance of W.C. and Sue Belle. Edith Sue was one of the first female embalmers in the State. Truly a family business was born. Bob and Sue Warden started their own family with the addition of Jacqueline Sue and Robert Bryan. 

Throughout the years the Bryan's and Warden's have operated their funeral home as a extension of their family, wishing to provide the very best in comfort and accommodations that the community deserved. In 1958 the Bryan Chapel was completed and dedicated to the task of community service. The Bryan Funeral Home became incorporated at its first annual meeting on December 22, 1970 as officers were elected.

The funeral home's fleet of vehicles have been added to over the years including a 1973, 1974, 1996, 1997 and two 2001 Cadillac hearses that were purchased along with other vehicles necessary for the comfort and dignity the community became to expect and deserved.

Being community minded, during the "slim" years the Bryan Funeral Home took in eggs, butter, milk and cheese in lieu of money for families to pay their burial insurance. The assistance that the Bryan's gave the community was repaid through loyal customers and friends who has given the Bryan Funeral Home it's reputation as it enjoys today. 

Robert Bryan and Gayla Warden joined the staff of the Bryan Funeral Home in 1974 following graduation from the John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, Tennessee. Again adding to the Bryan and Warden family tree, Amanda Michelle and Robert Christopher were born.

1974 was a major year in the Bryan Funeral Home, Bryan Ambulance Service was abolished due to new federal and state guidelines, Sue Belle Bryan resigned from the board of directors and retired with W.C. Bryan resigning and retiring in the following year of 1975; although he continued to act as a business operations advisor. Robert Bryan Warden earned his embalmers and funeral directors licenses, lacking only two months in having the distinction as being the youngest licensed embalmer and funeral director in the State, as well as Gayla Ann Warden earning her funeral director's license in 1979.


In 1992 both Bob and Sue Warden retired due to health problems turning over the funeral home's management to Robert and Gayla Warden. Sue Belle Bryan passed away June 16, 1977 with W.C. Bryan passing away in January 19, 1978 which transferred the ownership to their daughter and son in law, Bob and Sue Warden. Sue Warden passed away May 17, 1998 and Robert F. (Bob) Warden in March 22, 2001 which again transferred the family business under the direction of the 3rd generation, Robert Bryan and Gayla Ann Warden who presently own and manage the daily affairs of the business, along with Robert Christopher (Chris) Warden and his wife Crystal Warden continuing the family business of community service.


The business enlarged in 1990, opening a branch office and visitation area in Imboden enabling Bryan Funeral Home to become even more convenient for the Imboden area and surrounding communities. Again in 2001-2002 renovations were made, adding more amenities for convenience and comfort, providing a newly designed selection center, handicap facitlies and a public lounge for families and their friends. In 2005 we upgraded our old 8track sound system to a new fully functioning sound system. In 2007 we redesigned our front porch with new tile and Handicap ramp with a new awning. In 2011 we have upgraded our Chapel's awning to match the other side and we also installed a Generator so we will never be out of power. No matter ice storms or floods, the Bryan Funeral Home will be here to service you. 

 Chris Warden is the 4th generation Funeral Director/Embalmer/County Coroner; he graduated Hoxie High School in 1999 and graduated Arkansas State University of Mountain Home with an degree in Mortuary Science in 2003. He received his Funeral Director license in 2002 and Embalmers in 2003. In 2006 he married Crystal Whitmire, and in 2009 & 2014 they added to the Bryan and Warden family tree, River Alexander and Maximus Bryan Warden.

In 2007 the Warden Enterprize Inc. purchased the H&W annex of Lawrence Memorial Park, (perpetual care areas) to further help the community by offering assistance with all Cemetery needs.

In keeping with the desires and foresight of its founders and family, the Bryan Funeral Home is still dedicated to community service after 4 generations with the compassion and professional services that the community has become to expect and deserve.

The Bryan Funeral Home isn't just another business, its FAMILY assisting FAMILY in their time of need in a manner in which has set the standards in funeral service in Lawrence County over the years.

Come visit and see the difference that the Bryan Funeral Home can provide in peace of mind that everything will be personalized as you, our friends, request and desire.

Our Valued Staff

Robert Bryan  Warden

Robert Bryan Warden, Owner/Embalmer/Funeral Director

Gayla  Warden

Gayla Warden, Owner/Funeral Director

Robert (Chris)  Warden

Robert (Chris) Warden, Manger/Embalmer/Funeral Director

Crystal  Warden

Crystal Warden, Assistant Manager/Funeral Director

Doug Sosbe

Doug Sosbe, Assistant Funeral Director

Rhonda Wagoner

Rhonda Wagoner, Secretary

Cyndi McGough

Cyndi McGough, Funeral Director