[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjunction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]
by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor
Sometimes retirement leads to new opportunities.
Gene Allen, a South Plains College alum, used his time in retirement to become the president and general manager of the KFH family of Funeral Homes and Crematory.
A Levelland native, Allen graduated from SPC with an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and furthered his studies at Wayland Baptist University.
Allen is also a volunteer firefighter, EMT, and a certified Peace Officer.
“In those lines of work [as a firefighter and EMT], you occasionally deal with death, and it just really reinforced my interest [in the funeral business],” said Allen.
After school, Allen began his over 20-year career in the oil and gas industry. It was not until retirement did Allen decide to follow his true dream and become a licensed funeral director and embalmer.
“Since the rollercoaster of the oil and gas business,” said Allen, “I finally decided to take the plunge and change careers, and do what I always wanted to do.”
Allen furthered his education in the business by graduating from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. Because Allen already had a degree in criminal justice, Allen was able to graduate within 15 months.
“If it had not been for South Plains College and the education I got,” said Allen, “there is no way I would have been prepared for mortuary college.”
Along with the Krestridge Funeral Homes in Levelland, Allen owns the Kerrville Funeral Home in Kerrville, the Kimble Funeral Home in Junction, Texas, a crematory, and a limousine service.
Allen also has his certificate to become a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) through the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, and attended the National Funeral Directors Association to become a Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC).
Along with his work in the funeral business, Allen takes part in multiple organizations and boards. Allen has been published and featured in the Texas Funeral Directors Association magazine, “Texas Director.” He has also delivered the Commencement Address for the graduating class at the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston, Texas.
Allen believes that SPC has helped him throughout his journey in his new career.
“Many people believe it is easy to get back into [school], but it really isn’t,” he explained. “My time at SPC really prepared me in [going back].”
“SPC is such a small atmosphere,” said Allen. “The personal interest the instructors and professors give the students, I think, prepares you for your next step in education.”
Along with the atmosphere of SPC, Allen said the faculty has also had a huge impact on his life.
“George Lawless (retired Coordinator of the Law Enforcement Program) was very instrumental in continuing my education,” Allen said.
“[SPC] is a great place,” added Allen. “It is still home.”