Asia Stephens Is on Her Way to Being a Funeral Director

Posted by Monica Hoel
Asia has had her sights set on this career for a very long time.

She vividly remembers attending a funeral for a family member when she was in elementary school. She peered into the coffin and wasn’t pleased with the appearance of the deceased. “I didn’t like how he looked.” That moment would prove to be the genesis of a life wondering how a funeral service could be more perfect for a family.

During her first year at Emory & Henry she told a friend she wanted to be a funeral director. “She busted out laughing!” It rattled her confidence a bit regarding her plans to pursue a career in the funeral industry. Eventually she found the self-confidence to go after what she wanted and what she felt she was meant to do. “I decided this is definitely my calling, and I definitely need to do this. I want to help families.”

She is currently an intern at Oakey’s Funeral Home in the Roanoke Valley. She began her work there while still a student in 2019. She started as an attendant, helping on the day of a funeral service. Now, as an intern, she gets to be part of every aspect of the work, including helping families plan their services.

She’s also attending Tidewater Community College, completing their Funeral Service Program, and is due to wrap up her school work in a couple of semesters. Her work as an intern also helps toward completing this goal because in addition to classroom work also she has to have 2,000 hours of work in the field.

She started working for Oakey’s in 2019, and has worked for them continuously ever since – including through the pandemic. Asia says this unprecedented event offered new challenges. Beyond just the stress of a greatly increased number of families being served, there was the additional sadness in the early weeks of the pandemic of sometimes having to tell families they couldn’t even come to the funeral home to see their deceased loved ones. “It was definitely a different time, but luckily we had leaders who made a plan and got us through those times.”

Asia has long since quit worrying about anyone raising an eyebrow when she tells them what she’s planning to do with her career. “Emory & Henry was a place where we could try new things, step out of our comfort zones, be ourselves, and people still accepted us. I’ve learned to do that in my adult life, too: be confident, be who you are, don’t shy away from anything because you are capable.”

You can enjoy a conversation with Asia on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

  • Asia Stephens
    E&H Class of 2020

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG" alt="Jenny Poston Bishop E&H Class of 1993" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,927,1167/11065_IMG-0721.rev.1648510170.JPG 2x" data-max-w="927" data-max-h="1167" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets">E&H Mass Comm Student Story: Colton Williams gets the scoop on Jenny Poston Bishop’s luck</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><em>This is part of a series of stories by members of the 2022 E&H Mass Comm 302 Class. This story is by E&H Sophomore, Colton Williams.</em><br/><br/>Even though 1993 graduate Jenny Poston Bishop has won a ridiculously wide array of prizes, she says that there is more to it than just plain luck. <a href="/live/news/2283-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-colton-williams-gets" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1920-candace-greens-work-is-helping-others-work"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,640,633/9956_FB_IMG_1625601100498.rev.1625603314.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,640,633/9956_FB_IMG_1625601100498.rev.1625603314.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,640,633/9956_FB_IMG_1625601100498.rev.1625603314.jpg" alt=" Candace Green Emory & Henry Class of 2020 " width="345" height="225" data-max-w="640" data-max-h="633" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1920-candace-greens-work-is-helping-others-work">Candace Green’s Work is Helping Others Work</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Candace Green started Emory & Henry as a business major, but she took a class that changed her direction. <a href="/live/news/1920-candace-greens-work-is-helping-others-work" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2255-emaly-allison-is-a-heritage-interpreterand-tiktok"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,843,958/10962_emaly_allison.rev.1647539235.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,843,958/10962_emaly_allison.rev.1647539235.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,843,958/10962_emaly_allison.rev.1647539235.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,843,958/10962_emaly_allison.rev.1647539235.jpg" alt="Emaly Allison E&H Class of 2019 Heritage Interpreter" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,843,958/10962_emaly_allison.rev.1647539235.jpg 2x" data-max-w="843" data-max-h="958" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2255-emaly-allison-is-a-heritage-interpreterand-tiktok">Emaly Allison is a Heritage Interpreter...and TikTok Star</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Emaly Allison is right where she wants to be: standing on a frozen lake. <a href="/live/news/2255-emaly-allison-is-a-heritage-interpreterand-tiktok" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2036-summer-apostol-lifting-up-artists"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,80,731,631/10324_summer.rev.1632849389.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,80,731,631/10324_summer.rev.1632849389.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,80,731,631/10324_summer.rev.1632849389.jpg" alt="Summer Apostol Emory & Henry Class of 2018" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="551" data-max-h="551" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2036-summer-apostol-lifting-up-artists">Summer Apostol: Lifting Up Artists</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Summer Apostol thinks art ought to be everywhere.</span> <a href="/live/news/2036-summer-apostol-lifting-up-artists" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>