G.W. Caldwell first started in funeral services in 1910 while living in Gay. Hearses were still horse-drawn and embalming was only provided upon the family's request.
Caldwell continued working for the funeral service industry when he moved his family to Newton County in 1920. He took a job at Everett Funeral Home as an embalmer and worked for several years before an illness found him displaced from the job.
Caldwell didn't let unemployment stop him from being in the industry. In 1933, he managed to open his own funeral home in Porterdale. Six years later, with the help of his son Lewis Caldwell, they moved the business to Floyd Street and named it G.W. Caldwell & Son Funeral Home.
Caldwell's daughter and son-in-law Ruth and Sam Caldwell Cowan joined the business in 1948, when illness forced Caldwell to retire. The Caldwell siblings then partnered to form the current Caldwell and Cowan business name.
Continuing the legacy, Caldwell's grandson Judson Caldwell and Judson's wife, Ginger, eventually took over the business in 1991.
Judson and Ginger Caldwell decided to build a facility on 1215 Access Road in 2007. The facility holds the primary operation of the business, housing both the funeral home and the Dogwood Hill Crematory, with the Floyd Street location aimed at families wishing to join the Grief Management Center, an aftercare program for grief support.
"We have a grief management specialist on staff," said Ginger. "There isn't anything like that anywhere around here."
The full service funeral home is also heavily active in charities like Relay for Life, sponsoring the Concert for A Cure, a Relay for Life fundraiser concert series. The business hopes to host another fundraising concert in the spring.
Last Saturday, the company hosted its annual Candlelight Memorial Service in the chapel and the Lighting of the Luminaria ceremony at Lawnwood Memorial Park. Families place a candle in a bag of sand that is set at the site of their loved one.
"By the end of the evening, there's light all through the hill and over the cemetery," said Ginger. "It's really quite beautiful."
According to its website, Caldwell and Cowan is active in a multitude of organizations, including National Funeral Directors Association, Selected Independent Funeral Homes, Georgia Funeral Directors Association and Independent Funeral Directors of Georgia.
Its staff members are also heavily involved in the community, working with the Kiwanis Club of Covington, Miracle League of Newton County and the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.