PAXTON — Paxton native Kendall Cox has decided to pursue his dream of owning and operating a funeral home and is making it a reality in his hometown along with his girlfriend and business partner, K’Lee McGary, who is a Watseka native and also a licensed funeral director.

The Cox-Knapp Funeral Home will be operating at the current site of the Knapp-Miller Funeral Home at 142 W. Patton St. in Paxton. The funeral home is now in the process of being renovated, and an open house will take place once the improvements are finished.

“Our plan is to try and keep some of the original woodwork and feel to the history of the building but really try to add a modern touch with new flooring, furniture, fixtures and other important updates” Cox said.

The largest part of the renovation will be building an addition on the west side of the funeral home which will serve as the new chapel.

“After talking with several people in the community, we felt the necessity to build a larger chapel to service the needs of the Paxton area,” Cox said. “We will be able to continue servicing families during the renovation.”

The Knapp Funeral Home in Rankin will be transitioning to Cox-Knapp Funeral Home, as well, and will continue to operate at the same address at 130 N. Main St. in Rankin.

All of Knapp-Miller’s funeral pre-arrangements have been transferred to Cox-Knapp Funeral Home. Cox and McGary said that any pre-arrangements that are currently with another funeral home can be transferred to their funeral home and those prices and services will be honored.

The couple said they will bring a lot of new ideas to the community that have not been introduced yet.

“We both feel personalization is very important to this business and needing to adapt to the ever-changing industry,” Cox said. “Every family is different; therefore, every service is unique and you should have options on both what type of service you want and also on all of the details involved. We plan to offer many items to remember loved ones, such as cremation jewelry, custom DVD slideshows, customized memorial folders with endless possibilities, and many other personalized keepsakes that we want to bring to the Paxton area. We are looking forward to partnering in this to bring new opportunities to the community.”

Cox is a 2009 graduate of Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School and a 2013 graduate of Monmouth College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. Cox graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2014. Cox is the son of Dave and Sherri (Eighner) Cox of Paxton. His family has previous ties to the funeral business as his great-grandfather was Gus Seidel, a former area funeral director.

McGary is a 2009 graduate of Watseka High School and a 2013 graduate of Carl Sandburg College, where she earned her associate’s degree in mortuary science. McGary is the daughter of Robbie and Marty McGary of Watseka.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to the Paxton area,” Cox said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to pursue my career here in Paxton, and after exploring all my options, I am extremely grateful with the opportunity the Knapps have provided to me.”

Cox can be reached at the Cox-Knapp Funeral Home at 217-379-2353 or on his cell phone at 217-781-2222.