Melton Mortuary, a staple in southern West Virginia funeral services since 1951, has recently changed ownership. 

Owner Richard Lee, who has been in the funeral business for roughly 25 years, says he wants to make funeral services affordable for area residents.

"We like the area," he shared. "We own two funeral homes in Wyoming County already — Evans-Calfee Funeral Service in Pineville and Oceana."

Lee said after they purchased the Wyoming County locations, prices were drastically reduced. 

"We understand things have changed for people," he said. "Although finances aren't what they used to be, people still deserve great service at affordable pricing."

That's become the primary goal across the southern West Virginia locations — great service and affordable pricing. 

Bruce Blankenship, who has been employed at Melton Mortuary since 1976, said he stands behind Lee's mission. 

"We realize we're in an area that's challenged," Blankenship said. "I always say you can buy a funeral anywhere, but you can't buy service. Service is key."

He said Melton's employees always abide by The Golden Rule — treat others as you'd want to be treated. 

"You can't go wrong if you keep that mindset."

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Blankenship said funeral trends have drastically changed over the years. 

"The way I perceived tradition 40 years ago is not how tradition is now," he shared. 

Cremation is a much more popular option today, and families are noticeably smaller. 

"You don't have the ties you once did in a community," Blankenship said. "People live farther distances away. It's not that they're not close — things are just done differently now."

He said he once arranged an entire service via text message — something he would have never dreamed of 40 years ago. 

"The client just couldn't get back here. But it went fine. It just shows you how different things are."

Another major change, Blankenship said, is how religion is viewed.

"It's not all so church-based now. It's not that they don't believe in a higher power; they just have a different way of looking at it and celebrating a person's life."

But of all the things that have changed over the years, personalized service is not one of them at Melton. 

"We're one-on-one," Blankenship said. "We do a lot of home calls. A lot of our families are friends to us. It's nothing for us to go over to make arrangements and stay over for dinner."

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Melton Mortuary offers a variety of services, including embalming, caskets, formal service and burial, as well as cremation and memorial services. Pet cremation services are also offered.

For more information, call 304-253-8100.  

— Email: and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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