After serving his funeral apprenticeship in Missouri, Denver Roller and his wife, Christine, moved to Mountain Home, Arkansas to work for McClure Funeral Home. Although the effects of the Great Depression were still lingering in rural Arkansas, Denver and Christine managed to buy the McClure Funeral Home and soon had a baby daughter, Sue. They practiced the principles of honesty, loyalty and concern for others that built a strong family and would cause their business to prosper.
World War II placed a large burden on Denver, the only mortician in the area, and the whole community worked with the Rollers to care for those who lost their lives during those difficult times. The support from the community earned eternal gratitude from the Roller family, who always try to give back more than they receive.
The Rollers acquired Drummond Funeral Home in Little Rock in the mid-fifties and, in the sixties, Citizens Funeral Home in West Memphis and McNutt Funeral Home in Conway. McNutt Funeral Home’s motto, “To serve as we would be served” was established to guide each local director in the principles of operation. Denver also united his businesses under the symbol of the white dove on a blue background. These attempts to build a caring organization proved successful and soon quality funeral directors around the state were joining under the white dove and the type of service it represented.
Denver Roller was a man of great vision. He established Arkansas’ first crematory and created the Assured Peace Funeral Plan, the leading prepaid funeral plan in Arkansas. As of March 2003, over 21,000 people have prearranged and prepaid over $70 million with Assured Peace.
At Denver’s death in 1985, there were 13 funeral homes and five cemeteries operating under the principles he and Christine had established. Christine then took over the position of Chairman of the Board and, with her family, successfully built one of the largest funeral providers in the state.
Now, twenty-seven funeral homes, nine cemeteries and two crematories later, the family remains dedicated to keeping the business a family-owned and family-managed organization. Two generations of the Roller family are now involved in the operation of Roller Funeral Homes. Sue Roller Jenkins, Daughter of Denver and Christine, serves as Chairman of the Board. Other family members involved include: Lynn Jenkins, Executive Vice President, Renata Jenkins Byler, Daughter of Sue and Lynn, Secretary/Treasurer, and Tim Byler, Vice President of Information Systems. Both the owners and officers are committed to transferring the same values and principles established by Denver and Christine Roller to future generations.
The successes of these efforts have been recognized by Arkansas Business, the City of Little Rock and by the readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, voting Roller the best funeral home in Central Arkansas every year since 1999. The organization has been awarded the Hospice Compassion Award, by the Hospice Foundation of Arkansas and the Corporate Humanitarian award, by the Office of the Governor, Division of Volunteerism.