Darryl Thompson has been preparing for his current role as President of the Texas Funeral Directors Association from the time he was in high school during which time he formed an early, and ultimately lifelong, association with Weed-Corley-Fish funeral home in Austin, TX. Not that he knew it at the time, it is only with the benefit of hindsight that clearly one can see how each choice would ultimately lead him to the role he currently holds in the Association.
Recently in an interview with Carolyn Holzman of Funeral Director Results, Darryl Thompson, now GM of Weed-Corley-Fish, was asked what specific experiences prepared him for the role as president of the TFDA, an association representing funeral homes across Texas.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that my overall tenure in the funeral profession which began in 1978 when I was in high school was when I first became associated with Johnson’s Funeral Home in San Angelo, TX and then after mortuary school I began with Weed-Corley-Fish. This is all I have ever done so I would like to think during my time I have gained a vast knowledge of the industry as a whole.”
During his term as TFDA president, he was asked what are his top two goals for the Association during his administration.
“There is no doubt first would be to increase the overall membership. That’s always a daunting challenge but nonetheless extremely vital. Secondly, I would have to say that I’d like to maintain the momentum that I feel we already have and prepare the association for the challenges coming which is to remain relevant to our changing membership which is becoming younger with different needs and wants.”
“If you look at young people today, in a restaurant just scan who you see in the area and chances are young people will be on their phones, texting continuously. Even in my own organization, even though I put out the trade journals in our offices, the younger staff just don’t read printed magazines and newspapers like my generation does.”
“I’m going to ‘pick on’ my own association because I already have in my monthly articles that go into the magazines. There is nothing wrong with what the association had done but at some point you have to realize that we cannot continue down the same path. If you do, it will cave in on you. As the membership is changing, the needs of the membership change. That’s probably because of generational needs and we have to focus on that now and not wait five years to address it because by then it could be too late.”
Thompson is a practical radical change agent, he knows that an organization like the TFDA doesn’t change overnight but over time based on a vision of making things better for the membership.
“We have a Facebook page, a website, we do bimonthly electronic updates to the membership. So we are adapting and changing, it just doesn’t happen fast. If you took every article I have written thus far you’d start to see a pattern and that is change but only when it is necessary. I’m not advocating that we change because it is broken and nothing works or change for change sake. We’re making changes because the change is necessary for the TFDA to remain relevant to the next generation of funeral directors.”
“My hope is if I can spark one little thing, if I can give somebody in our professional something so that they will stop and ask themselves ‘what I am doing?’ it will make a difference.”
During the conclusion of the interview when asked what he will miss the most about being TFDA President once his term is complete, Thompson was equally forthright.
“You know what I’m probably going to miss the most is getting to meet all the great, wonderful people I have met across Texas. Its been the most overwhelming thing. You know most folks in this professional have such big hearts and are such good people. That’s probably the one thing I’m going to miss the most.”
And what will he miss the least?
“I am not going to miss the travel. I am looking forward to coming back to the office and getting involved once again here. I am looking forward to staying at home…soon, maybe doing a little traveling with my wife, other than to funeral events. It has been a tremendous experience, very eye-opening. I wouldn’t trade it for anything but when the end comes, it will be time to hand the reigns over to the next president and let someone else have some fun.”
Darryl began his career in the funeral industry in 1978. He has been with Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home since August 1981 and is the General Manager of Fish Funeral Services. He graduated from Water Valley High School, attended Angelo State University, and graduated from Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in 1981. Darryl is married and has two children and four grandchildren. He is a member of the Methodist Church.
For more information about Darryl Thompson you can contact him at (512) 452-8811.
This interview is one in a series of interviews of the Presidents of the State Associations of Funeral Directors. For more information concerning the series, contact Funeral Director Results at (512) 298-1449 or via their website FuneralDirectorResults.com.