Eugene Miller II a native of Alexandria, LA. born January 13, 1984, a 2002 Graduate of Peabody Magnet High School, son of Cynthia Phillips; and Quinton Daniel Hill native of Shallotte, N.C. born August 16, 1985, 2003 graduate of South Brunswick High School, son of Oscar Smith and Felecia Holmes. Although the two are from different necks of the woods, you’d think they grew up together. Both having different backgrounds and life’s experiences, both knew they had a sincere interest and love for funeral service. Eugene’s mother would never allow him to attend funerals of those they knew, she would say ‘it’s too emotional, they won’t look like themselves and I don’t want you to remember them like that.” Whereas Quinton’s story is totally different, he would tag along with his grandmother to every funeral that she would attend always so eager to see the hearses and or limousines lined up at the church or funeral home. Even as kids Eugene and Quinton unknowingly shared the same interests and stories of lining up cars and shoes through the house playing funeral procession or even going as far as playing funeral in the back yard with makeshift funeral paraphernalia. In April of 1997, Eugene experienced the death of a Great Aunt, Linda F. Weekly Butler and her death was the first he had ever experienced with being able to attend the funeral; while Quinton had already attended many funerals of family members, Eugene had not.
Summer of 1997 at the age of 13, Eugene and his mother moved to Moncks Corner, South Carolina and later in the year Eugene’s uncle died and developed a love for that funeral director, Mrs. Mildred Milligan and from there Eugene started helping around Milligan’s Funeral Home where he would help cut grass, wash cars, clean the funeral home and various other tasks. At the age of 15 Eugene and his mother returned home to Alexandria. One Saturday in the summer of 1999 Eugene asked his mother to take him to Winnfield Funeral Home and spoke with Merl J. Rachal and shared his sincere desire and interest to be a mortician. Mr. Rachal stated, “if you have a black suit you can come back and watch the 11am chapel service and ride in the hearse with me and Mrs. Rhonda Dickerson.” From that day Eugene began helping around Winnfield Funeral Home of Alexandria doing some of the same tasks he did in South Carolina, such as assisting on funerals/ removals with Merl J. Rachal, Ty’Ron C. Robinson, Bernard J. Williams and John L. Franklin until graduating from high school.
Although Quinton never really helped around a funeral home growing up, that didn’t stop or deter him from pursuing his calling as a funeral director. Quinton experienced the tragic deaths of his Aunt Cheryl Hill in 1989, a very close first cousin Nicholas Bell in 2001 2 grandmothers, Helen Stanley Hill in 2003 and most recent Vanzie Lee Smith in 2010. Having dealt with these deaths it just greater confirmed his aspirations of being a mortician.
Both Eugene’s great-grandmother Lena Joffrion Weekly, and grandmother Emma L. Weekly Phillips died in 2002 where he played a tremendous part in the preparation of their bodies and funeral service arrangements; as well as his grandfather’s body Jerry M. Phillips II who died 5 years later in Cleveland, OH and his cousin’s body Eddie Ray Allen who passed away in 2011.
After graduating high school, Quinton sought to attend Fayetteville Technical Community College in 2005, studying the Funeral Service program where he discovered it wasn’t the right time and he withdrew from the program, yet still determined. Eugene knew that one day he would love to be the embalmer for Winnfield Funeral Home and dreamed of even being the manager someday. Ever since being a young kid, Eugene had strong aspirations to establish a career in funeral service and after graduating high school, he decided to attend Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA where he struggled to stay focused and gave several attempts and the colleges president Patty Hutcheson recommended that Eugene take some time off to regroup and try again when focused.
It was 10 years later that Eugene and 8 years later that Quinton decided to give mortuary college one more chance. Eugene and Quinton met at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service spring of 2013 and from there a bond like no other developed that has remained and cannot be broken. Quinton began to accompany Eugene to different funeral homes to assist, learn and gaining all that he could. Eugene started showing Quinton the ropes and ins and outs. With much help from one another, long hours stressful days, fellow peers, family, and the loving support of Eugene’s mother; they both made it through school and successfully graduated Fall of 2014, both attaining an Associate Degree in Applied Science. After the two graduated, a few days later they both packed up, drove and moved to North Philadelphia, PA where they both worked together at Terry Funeral Home and Batchelor Brothers.
Eugene currently holds licenses as an embalmer and funeral director in the states of Georgia and Louisiana. Being afforded the opportunity to work for some of Atlanta, GA’s finest Funeral Homes; Sellers Brothers, Donald Trimble, Gregory B. Levett & Sons and world-renowned Willie A. Watkins Funeral Homes. Eugene gained as much knowledge, practices, principles, techniques and all he could from some of who he deemed as influential, successful owners and Funeral Directors/Embalmers such as R. Jermaine Williams, H. Bernard Holston Sr. Dominique C. Rankine, Myron Davis, Gregory B. Levett Sr. and Willie A. Watkins. These individuals trained, coached and paved the way allowing Eugene to perfect his gifts and use his talents as an embalmer, restorative artist, funeral director and the funeral service professional he is today.
Eugene had the honor of preparing bodies of some of Atlanta area’s well-known persons, pastors, influential people along with world known individuals; Yolanda “Yogi” King daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mary Lou Wallace Mother of comedian and actor George Wallace. Presiding Bishop Chandler David Owens Sr. of the Church Of God In Christ.
Always having a strong fascination with Winnfield Funeral Home, 12 years later the opportunity of a life time for Eugene finally appeared while living in Philadelphia, PA and he returned home to fulfill his Childhood dream as General Manager of Winnfield Funeral Home of Alexandria in January of 2015, Leaving Quinton in Philadelphia.
It has been a phrase of Eugene’s saying, “I want to give to families what they deserve in the time of need.”
Eugene asked Quinton to join him in the endeavor of managing, reestablishing and restoring Winnfield Funeral Home to the thriving reputation it once had with continuing the legacy of the Late Founder/Owner Dr. Ben D. Johnson Sr. Eugene returned with new knowledge, experience and innovative ways to enhance the funeral experience in Alexandria and the surrounding areas. Quinton uprooted from Philadelphia and moved to Alexandria, LA in April of 2015 to join Eugene. The two again worked side by side and began to gain more insight, knowledge, and enhanced skills. Eugene was willing to share all he could to aide in Quinton’s success and began to further show him the ropes of funeral service. Quinton completed his internship under Eugene and became a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in the state of Louisiana.
Quinton has a genuine heart and way with people having developed his own unique style as a funeral director and way with families and the community. Although he is an implant, you’d never know it! He is loved by so many people and has blended right on in!
With much blood, sweat, tears, much of their own resources, many days and long hours of hard work; Eugene, Quinton and Eugene’s mother Cynthia began to do all they knew and could to rebuild the image and brand that Winnfield Funeral Home once was known for as the “Pillar in the Community.” With having raised another standard, laid another foundation, setting a foot print and creating another legacy. Eugene and Quinton’s skillset, talent, innovative ideas, ingenuity, quality, professionalism and new standards began to make a difference in the community; and with that the trust and confidence of the community and families were regained.
After the short-lived venture, in December of 2017 Eugene and Quinton resigned and departed from their duties as Managers, Funeral Directors/ Embalmers, and decided to reroute that same time, knowledge, talent, energy, and resources to generate an even greater experience for the community and families; and embarked upon birthing what is now Miller & Hill Funeral Directors.