Dexter David has known the funeral industry his whole life. He’s also known football his whole life. It’s no surprise that football has helped shape him into the funeral director he strives to be. He started working for his dad at 11 years old. In high school, he joined the monument crew. After college in the middle of his football career, he ran his own truck and learned even more of the trade. Then 5 years ago, he put a tie on, and formally joined Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services. In our latest post in the series of Conversations with a Funeral Director, we talk with Dexter about what it’s like being a funeral director and how funerals are just like football.

Funerals and Football

Bo Schembechler of the University of Michigan once said,

“there’s gonna be one Team that’s gonna play solely as a Team. No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team?”

Dexter told me,

There’s 11 people on the field, 11 different positions. One play is one family’s service. To operate and work perfectly, everyone on that field needs to know what they have to do and be on the same page.”

The team includes clergy, florists, maybe a pianist, the family, and Dexter is the quarterback, making sure the play runs smoothly. That’s why he uses Everdays. Everdays allows him to execute and give everyone the play (or the announcement in this case) so they can succeed.

Being Successful

In order to succeed in football, or anything else, you need to be consistent. And being successful requires an understanding of the basic fundamentals and applying them to everything you do consistently – and simply being consistent at what you do. For this reason, Dexter likes using Everdays for all of his announcements. To always stay ready, he tries to answer the questions before they are even asked. He is always trying to stay one step ahead to help the families. The Everdays announcements allow him to stay that one step ahead. It also allows him to send it to people that the family might not have contact information for. Dexter knows many of the clergy in town. So he can send the announcement to them, or to people who might be participating in the funeral. He wants to take as much burden off the family so that they can go through this time to grieve properly.

A Changing Industry

As an industry as a whole, funeral directors know that it is changing. They see the rate of cremation growing. It’s more economical to cremate than to bury. But, that’s because the value is being taken out of the equation. In order for him to adapt, Dexter understands that he’s not here to change people’s opinions but to remind them that just because they choose cremation, doesn’t mean the value goes down. You can still have services for your loved ones and honor and memorialize them without a burial.

In the end, Dexter forms relationships with his families, he educates them, and walks with them through this journey. He wants to be their guide but only as needed. He sees the bigger picture with each of his families that he serves and understands that the picture might not always be the same and that’s what makes him successful.

We’d like to thank Dexter for his insights about how he stays ahead of the curve to help families.


Dexter David Wheeler WoodliefBefore entering the funeral profession, Dexter David completed his Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration after attending Arkansas State University in 2005 and Southeastern Louisiana University in 2010. In July of 2015, he obtained his diploma in Funeral Service Education from Fayetteville Technical Community College. Dexter is also a high school football coach at Rocky Mount Academy.