Adam Knebler joins Headley staff
Adam Knebler never imagined when he graduated from Augusta High School and joined the Marine Corps he would return to live in Augusta.
Not only did he come back with his wife, Kristen, and three children to become Augusta residents, but he has joined Headley Funeral Chapel as a licensed funeral director and licensed embalmer.
Adam is the third generation of a well-known local family. Many in the community knew the late Lawrence “Tubby” Knebler, Adam’s grandfather, and Adam’s dad, the late William “Bill” Knebler.
Adam was almost 10 years old when his father died in a tragic car crash on an icy road south of town. Coincidently, Clint Headley, who was employed with another funeral home at that time, worked the accident that claimed Knebler’s life.
A strong work ethic was part of Adam’s upbringing and some of his experience included landscape work at Kensington Gardens in Wichita alongside his grandfather.
“My grandfather took me under his wing and taught me to work hard and be proud of the job,” Adam said.
When he became engaged to Kristen nine years ago and was looking to save some money for a honeymoon trip to Jamaica, Adam contacted Kensington Gardens for a part-time job that would work well with his student schedule at Wichita State University.
He later was employed at Broadway Mortuary performing tasks that included everything from washing the vehicles to assisting with services.
“That’s when I became more interested and witnessed an embalming,” he advised.
Adam graduated from WSU in 2008 and was also called to active duty in the Marine Corps.
He served in Mortuary Affairs at Dover Air Force Base as the Marine Corps Liaison from 2008 - 2010. It was no easy job. He assisted families who lost soldiers in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, making arrangements to get them to their final resting places throughout the United States.
When he left active duty in the military, Adam knew he wanted to continue serving others and decided to pursue a education in mortuary science. He attended Dallas Institute of Mortuary Arts and upon graduation he worked with the largest mortuary in Texas.
“I was able to receive a lot of experience in embalming and restorative art,” he said. “I was a licensed embalmer in Texas.”
The family moved back to Kansas and Adam transferred his license and went to work at Broadway Mortuary in Wichita.
“I was able to meet with lots of families and when the opportunity arose that I could work in Augusta and serve families and people I know, I was excited,” he said.
Adam is a perfect fit with Clint Headley and other staff members at the local funeral home. In addition to sharing a military background, the two are dedicated to quality service and attention to detail. The men also share a spiritual grounding as well.
“Serving God and others is important to both of us,” Adam continued. “And what a great way to serve. If you serve God, you can’t go wrong. You have to enjoy it in order to care about all aspects. I am blessed to have a very understanding wife.”
Being a funeral director isn’t an easy job. It’s one that requires long hours and late night phone calls. Perhaps, most important is they must provide a sense of comfort and guidance through one of life’s hardest moments.
“I look forward to each day at work and I enjoy working with Clint,” he said. “I value our one-on-one mentorship.”
Headley agreed, saying, “It’s wonderful having Adam here. He’s a good guy and a great employee. He wants to help people and he’s from Augusta. The families will certainly benefit having him here. I’ve enjoyed the teaching experience. And it’s nice to share ideas and have the camaraderie.”
Adam is active in the community and serves in the Augusta Lions Club. He and his family are members of Life Church.
Headley Funeral Chapel is locally owned and located at 813 State St. Headley and Knebler are both licensed embalmers, and along with Cherie Headley, are licensed funeral directors. The Headleys have been members of the local community for almost 20 years and are currently in their 12th year of serving Augusta.
Belinda Larsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.