Thinking ‘outside the box’ sets Click apart

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

Larry Click literally grew up in a funeral home. His parents, Glenn and Polly Click, had an apartment below their Lenoir City funeral home. His dad was surprised when Larry and Jan Click didn’t add an apartment for their family when they purchased a former church as the Farragut Click Funeral Home location. It is, after all, an around-the-clock occupation.

While he and two of his siblings still work in the funeral industry, Larry didn’t always have that career in mind.

“I wanted to be a lawyer,” he says with a laugh. Instead, after graduating from high school at 16, he enlisted in the Air Force at 17. At 21, he graduated from UT with a degree in Russian history. But he’d always worked in the family business, so a full-time career developed naturally.

Glenn and Polly opened the first Click Funeral Home in 1965, and the family now owns or partners in five locations. Larry purchased the former First Farragut United Methodist Church in 1999 and the funeral home shared space with the congregation for five years – a novel approach.

“Larry thinks outside the box,” says Tonya Alsobrooks, the funeral director at the Farragut location. The funeral home received calls from across the country about the unusual partnership with the church. They also received calls from numerous business owners when they created a website. They were one of the first funeral homes in the state to have an internet presence, Larry says.

The addition of Milestones, an event facility located in the office park adjacent to the funeral home, was another fresh idea. The venue allows for families to celebrate loved ones in a more casual setting. The space is also available for other types of special occasions, like rehearsal dinners, birthdays and anniversary parties.

“It’s like a big living room,” Tonya says.

Another innovative offering at Click is natural burial service. It’s become a popular choice in recent years, Larry said.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the Click family’s commitment to serving the community. Larry takes evening and weekend calls himself, and even if he meets with a family in the wee hours of the morning, he’ll have on his signature bow-tie, Tonya says. He’s also quietly generous, offering consistent support to Farragut schools and those in need.

“Larry Click works harder than anybody I know. His passion is helping the community.”

Tonya and Larry agree that the most rewarding part of the funeral business is serving families in crisis.

“Everybody says, first thing, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I tell them, that’s a good thing. You don’t want to be too good at funerals,” Larry says.

Click is the only funeral home in Farragut. It’s an unusual community because so few residents grew up here, Larry says. That means many families need help sending their loved ones elsewhere for burial, even overseas. But it also means that customers are more likely to develop special relationships with funeral home staff, which is very rewarding.

“A funeral home is more about working with people than running a business.”

Wendy Smith coordinates marketing and public relations for the town of Farragut.

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