Brownstown funeral home opens under new ownership



The recent closure of one of Brownstown’s three funeral homes provided an opportunity for a man to finally fulfill a nearly lifelong dream.

Although he grew up in northeast Texas, Kris Brock spent his summers in Brownstown with his grandparents, Lewis and Judy Hewitt, who still live here.

During those summers, what was then Winklepleck-Weesner Funeral Home always stood out to him for reasons Brock can’t explain himself.

Brock, who already owns four funeral homes in Texas, does know one thing — being in the funeral business is something he has wanted as far back as he can remember.

“From the age of 5, this is what I always wanted to do,” the 37-year-old said.

The funeral home at 320 N. High St. closed earlier this year after former owner James D. Weesner Jr. failed to renew its annual state license. Without that required license, Weesner was unable to perform funerals. At that time, people with prearranged funerals were left not knowing where to turn.

There is a consumer protection fund in place that will pay for the funeral as long as they can provide proof they paid for services.

Brock, who has renamed the funeral home Winklepleck & Brock, said he plans to honor all prearranged funerals as long as people can provide that proof.

“If anyone transferred their pre-arrangements to another funeral home after learning the news of Winklepleck-Weesner being closed, we will gladly accept those arrangements back now that we are open,” he said. “All they need to do is stop by or sign a simple form. I will handle all the details from there.”

He said he will mail the forms to those who cannot stop by the funeral home and they can mail the forms back. To do that call, 812-358-4303.

Weesner, who could not be reached for comment, had owned and operated the funeral home since the death of his father, James Weesner Sr., in October 2006.

Brock, who lives in Hughes Springs, Texas, said he had a chance about 20 years ago to purchase Winklepleck-Weesner but turned it down.

“I wanted bigger things,” he said. “I was 18 and wasn’t going to settle in a small town anyhow.”

So Brock went off to school at San Antonio Mortuary College and then on to Texas A&M to get an undergraduate degree in communications.

He first went to work at a larger funeral home but later had the opportunity to buy the Reeder-Davis Funeral Home chain. That chain has funeral homes in Hughes Springs, Linden and Ore City, all in Texas. He also owns a funeral home in Jefferson, Texas.

On Oct. 24, Brock received a state license, so funerals can now be conducted at Winklepleck & Brock, and he will have his funeral director’s license sometime this month.

In the meantime, he has hired a funeral director from Shelbyville to help.

Earlier this year, Brock learned about the funeral home closing and jumped at the chance to buy it.

“I felt like this was my family’s funeral home in a sense because we had always used it,” he said. “I just didn’t want it to get into the wrong hands, in my eyes, so I thought it was something I thought I needed to do.”

Brock is in the process of renovating the funeral home.

“We’re going to try to give it a nice facelift,” he said.

The work includes putting new siding and replacing eaves and gutters on the exterior, brightening up the interior and replacing the sign.

Brock said he plans to spend a lot of time traveling back and forth between Texas and Brownstown for the next year and even beyond that time.

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