J.C. Kirby & Son holds its first drive-thru funeral

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – COVID-19 has not only brought a lot of changes to our lives, but the pandemic is changing the way we do things after a loved one has died too.

A Bowling Green family mourned the loss of a man with a drive-thru funeral Friday to allow family members and friends to come and pay their respects while still maintaining social distancing.

“It is not life as usual so there are a lot of people that are not going to be able to mourn his death,” said Ellis Barber, the son of Edward Alexander Barber.

So much about a drive-thru funeral is unusual and difficult. Friends drove up to the casket where the family sat outside, drivers rolled down their windows, and spoke to the family at a distance for a few short moments.

Not being able to experience the comfort of hugs and handshakes is heartbreaking for the family, according to Arcie Brown, Barber’s pastor.

“Now, there is not flowers because, you know, the florists are closed, the people can’t hug on the widow now and the family like they would like to,” said Brown.

Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby hates to see these new restrictions at funerals but is happy to provide as much normalcy as possible while still doing what he can to keep people protected.

“We do want to follow all the CDC regulations and what the governor is telling us and this is a way that we can do this in a way that stays within those and allows the family to have a grieving process and to have some friends to come by just to acknowledge them,” said Kirby.

Edwards was a member of the United States Navy. He’s unable to receive the honorable three volley salute at his burial because of the coronavirus social distancing rules.

“So many of our veterans, they want this so badly to have at their grave site, and at the present time it’s not available with what is going on in our county,” said Kirby.

This Bowling Green native was known for telling everyone he met the same thing, a message of love.

“Well dad’s way of doing that would be that ‘Jesus loves you and he is coming soon’ every time. It was even on his answering machine on the phone,”

Barber passed away Saturday in his home at 86 years old, the same home he was born in. Barber did not have COVID-19.