Unified for Serving ~ Committed to Caring Since 1979
Mr. William V. Powell and Son, Alwyn at groundbreaking ceremonyOne fundamental concept of the Unity progenitors was that the organization behind the funeral services would last in perpetuity so they established a corporation, as opposed to individuals, to own the business. That corporation was named JAB, Inc., and still exists today. The first officers of the corporation were two of the progenitors, Jeff Davis as President and the late Bryant Keese as Vice President, and the son of a third progenitor, AV Powell as Secretary and Treasurer.
The talents and skills of many minorities who were involved in the project are reflected in the physical structure that exists today. Rev. Dykes’ architectural skills can be seen in several churches and other facilities, both locally and in nearby towns. Mr. Gaiter’s skills as a brick mason are well known in the Knoxville community.
Jefferson Davis, Jr., Chairman of the Board, the last surviving progenitor, is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He is a graduate of Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science at the original Dallas Institute. Mr. Davis has over 50 years of experience in the funeral industry. Prior to starting Unity Mortuary in 1979 he worked for Wheeler’s Mortuary for more than two decades.
Dr. Lula C. Powell, Vice President and Secretary of the Board, is the wife of the Unity progenitor, William V. Powell, Jr. She is a graduate of Knoxville College and received both her Masters and EdD from the University of Tennessee. She worked in the Knoxville public school system for more than 40 years, having served as principal of Green Science and Math School for 26 years before retiring in 2001. Dr. Powell joined the Unity management team in July 2009 and is currently pursuing her funeral director’s apprenticeship.
AV Powell, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Board, is a consulting actuary who also manages a national actuarial consulting firm with offices in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from Harvard University with a statistics major and received a Masters degree in actuarial science from Georgia State University. Mr. Powell has completed doctoral coursework in risk and insurance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.