Published On: Wed, Jan 8th, 2014

Backwoods Caskets – not your typical family business

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At right, Backwoods Caskets on display reveal  interior and exterior craftmanship. The camouflage-lined casket is made of oak and the other is made of cedar. S. Stewart photo

At right, Backwoods Caskets on display reveal interior and exterior craftmanship. The camouflage-lined casket is made of oak and the other is made of cedar. S. Stewart photo

Jeff Simmons, of Parsons, had an epiphany two years ago and decided it was time for him and his son, Jeff, Jr., to use their woodworking skills to make caskets.

After his brother passed away, Simmons turned to his faith for solace and felt it was his calling to provide well-crafted caskets for the deceased.

“I talked to my son – he was a security guard at [Tygart Valley Regional Jail] and he blew his knees out – and I asked him if he wanted to do this and he said ‘yeah,’” Simmons said.

Jeff Jr., left his job with the corrections department, and he and his father began a new business, Backwoods Caskets.

They use wood from local sawmills, including oak, cherry, walnut, cedar and sassafras.

“Oak is the best one,” Simmons said. “A lot of the caskets you buy are imitation. These are made in West Virginia. You’re going to see flaws in them but they’re handmade.”

Along with a wide variety of wood, the interiors are unique, as well.

“We make anything people want,” Simmons said. “Everybody up here likes camouflage.”

But it’s not just the usual green and brown, pink camouflage is also an option.

Jeff Jr. added another layer of service by making flag boxes for veterans.

“Any veteran that buys our casket, they get a free flag case,” Simmons said. “He builds them out of the same wood.”

The caskets are available at Lantz Funeral Home in Marlinton, Randolph Funeral Home in Valley Bend, Summerfield Funeral Home in Parsons, Rotruck-Lobb Funeral Home in Kingwood, Hinkle Funeral Home in Davis and Lohr and Barb Funeral Home in Parsons.

Backwoods Caskets may be contacted at 304-940-5950 or 304-940-6119.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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