State funeral association honors 3 past presidents

All 3 hailed from Dunn

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The Cape Fear District Funeral Directors Association, a part of the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association of North Carolina, honored three of the state association’s past presidents, who all hailed from Dunn, at the Dunn City Council meeting Tuesday night.

“Our organization started in Wilmington, North Carolina, back in 1927, by a group of African American funeral directors to promote education and camaraderie within the service industry,” said Timothy Butler, president of Butler & Son Funeral Home Inc. in Roseboro. “Along the way we’ve had a lot of individuals to participate in our association.”

The three leaders from Dunn “all did an excellent job as they served in the funeral service industry within their community,” he said.

The late Walter Dafford Jr. of Dafford Funeral Home in Dunn served as the 31st president of the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association of North Carolina. Dafford died on Dec. 9, 2012, at the age of 100.

Dafford’s son, Dallas “Bo” Dafford Sr., followed in his father’s footsteps, working in the family business and serving as the state association’s 41st president. He was honored with a plaque at the meeting Tuesday night.

“You’ve paved the way for so many, including myself, with (your) presidency of the state association. You were active in your community. Your colleagues enjoy you. We love you and we honor you tonight for your accomplishments,” Anthony Worley, a past president of the state association, told Dafford.

“You’ve had your license for 50 years! That’s longer than I’ve been in existence,” Worley said, as the audience laughed. “Just by a year.”

Mayor Oscar Harris congratulated Dafford and told the crowd that he was honored to have served with him for 10-and-a-half years on the council.

“He was mayor pro tem when I was mayor and we just had a wonderful time together,” Harris said. “We just appreciate you so much.”

“For my dad and my family, this certainly means so much to me and my family,” Dafford said, thanking and blessing the city as applause erupted in the council chambers.

The late Nathaniel Tucker Jr. of Tucker & Sons Funeral Home in Dunn, served as the state association’s 42nd president. Tucker died in 2012, at the age of 64.

“It’s an honor for me to salute Nathaniel Tucker Jr., who I started out with here in Dunn,” said Kevin Herring, past president of the Cape Fear District and director of Herring Funeral Care and Cremations in Fayetteville. “Tucker was a mentor who started me in this business. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the funeral director that I am today.”

Pandora Tucker received the plaque in honor of her late husband.

“Nathaniel Tucker, Pandora’s husband, was head of our Dunn Public Housing Authority for many years,” Harris said, thanking the Tucker family “for all of the services it has provided to the city of Dunn.”

“It’s such an honor,” Tucker said. “When I was told that he was going to get this honor to be presented and put in the Dunn museum, it felt so — I can’t even express it. It’s just a wonderful feeling because Dunn is our home.”

A plaque commemorating the three past presidents and their service to the state will hang in the Dunn Area History Museum.

Bobby Carr, president of the museum, accepted the plaque, “proudly,” he said. “We’ll display it with honor.”

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