Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
Learn the legacy.
We are so honored to be thought of by families in their time of need. Because we do understand the importance of trusting us with those you love and cherish, we commit ourselves to the best care we can offer physically and emotionally. In 2019 we pledge the same commitment we have practiced over these many decades, to treat others as we would be treated. Funeral service is a grand tradition. Our traditions were not just taught to us, they were created by the Hawthorn Family as the first and foremost funeral home in Carthage and Panola County, Texas. We keep these traditions alive and move forward into the 21st century remembering who we are and where we came from and creating new traditions in this new era of funeral service.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Mr. Carlton H. Shamburger
Mr. Carlton H. Shamburger, Owner/ Funeral Director
Carlton was born in Ruston, Louisiana. His father worked as an oilfield sales executive, and Carlton grew up, living throughout Texas and Louisiana. He was schooled in Shreveport, Louisiana, graduating from Huntington High School with the class of 1980. He attended Louisiana Tech University majoring in business and active in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He and his wife, Karen Lynn Goodwin met in high school and were married in 1985. They have three children, twins, Kathrine Elizabeth and Meredith Ellen Shamburger, and a son, Benjamin Ryan Shamburger, all graduates of Carthage High School, Centenary College, S.M.U., and Louisiana Tech consecutively. Most recent Kathrine received her Masters from “Ole Miss.”
Carlton came to Carthage as a graduate of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service with honors and distinction. He served an apprenticeship through Hawthorn Funeral Home and later came to manage and ultimately purchase the funeral home business and historic property. Carlton and Karen are active community members. Karen is a professional educator working for C.I.S.D. for over 20 years. The Shamburgers are active members of the First Baptist Church of Carthage. Carlton is a proud member of the O.K. Men's Sunday School Class. He also sings in the choir, serves on the Personnel Mat and the Long term Visionary Team. He is active in the Carthage Rotary Club, and serves and dedicates his time on the Mission Carthage Board of Directors. Carlton is President of the Panola Charter School Board of Directors and enjoys fellowship in the Carthage Music Club. Carlton's leadership lead to an invitation to join the Selected Independent Funeral Homes organization in 2013, which is a national organization of independent funeral homes and funeral professionals and leaders accessible by invitation only. His years working for Prime Succession (the former owner of Hawthorns with well over 200 funeral homes nationwide) as manager he received the Manager of the Year award and was given the Perseverance Award which was created for him for demonstrating leadership in funeral service against all odds. Carlton is a member of the NFDA. Carlton has published a newsletter called “The Carriage Trade” for Hawthorn Funeral Home to share with other professionals who serve the bereaved.
"Our perspective at Hawthorn's is unique. We come from the day of horse and buggy and operate today in the information age where technology seems to advance faster than comprehension. Through the decades we’ve learned this contrast is what makes us unique - unique in the services we provide to families, from branding caskets for the Diamond D Ranch to mule drawn wagons, or a confederate soldier’s tribute to a Caisson bearing our own City Officer killed in the line of duty. We are unique in the services we provide our community from honoring Texas Peace Officers and remembering those who we have lost each year in our Service of Remembrance, to honoring those children who excel above and beyond in our Accelerated Reading Program. Karen, myself, and the Hawthorn Funeral Home family have a heart to provide whatever our community needs, in our own unique manner to those we honor and serve." - Carlton H. Shamburger, Owner/Operator.
Mr. Donny Honeycutt
Donnie Honeycutt, a native of Panola County, is the son of Don and Billie Honeycutt. His father worked at Hawthorn Funeral Home for 55 years. During his life, Donnie's family lived near or on the premises of the funeral home. In the 1950's a new home was constructed behind the funeral home and occupied by the Honeycutt family. The home still stands.
While he attended Panola College during 1965-1968, Donnie worked part-time as an ambulance driver. It was during that time that he met his future wife Richie Kelly. After Panola College, he received his Bachelor's degree in drafting from Texas State Technical Institute in Waco, Texas. In 2012, after a career at the Panola County Appraisal District's office in Carthage, he came to work for Hawthorn Funeral Home.
Donnie and Richie have been married for over 40 years, and they have two daughters, Kelly and Donna, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Donnie and Richie are active long-time members of First Baptist Church.
Mr. Bob Cowan
After retiring from a successful 27-year career as a forester, Mr. Bob Cowan attended the Commonwealth Institute in Houston, Texas and received his degree in Funeral Service in 2001. He then began his second career as a Funeral Director in Many, Louisiana before moving to Carthage in 2008.
Bob married the love of his life, Susie, and they have four children and ten grandchildren. Bob and Susie are active members of the Still Waters Cowboy Church in Carthage.
Bob says, "Susie and I love Carthage, and working at Hawthorn Funeral Home is a blessing."
Mrs. Kelly Cox
Mr. John Hardy
John was born in Kannapolis, N.C. in 1952. He attended Tennessee Temple College and holds an Associate Degree from Rocky Mountain Christian College. John enjoys cooking, sport fishing, and road trips. He married Sarah Gillespie Hardy in 1971. They have two children and two grandchildren.
John has been a pre-arrangement specialist for twenty years and has been with Hawthorn Funeral Home since 2004.
Mr. Steve Sowell
Steve was born and raised in the Dallas area. After graduating from Lewisville High School in 1976 he moved to the Beckville area and built a house between Fairplay and Beckville where he and his wife Cindi still live today. He is the father of two children, John Sowell and Holly Jo Alexander who both reside in Panola County with four of his six grandchildren-two have gone on to college. Steve attended The University of Texas at Arlington where he received his certification as a Specialist in Safety & Health and retired as a safety specialist with TXU after 37 years of service.
“Hawthorn Funeral Home has been here for my family since I was a young child, providing a warm, encouraging atmosphere at a time when it was most needed. The opportunity to be a part of the Hawthorn family as they help others during their time of loss is very much a privilege and a blessing.”
Mrs. Alice Cades Williams
Funeral Assistant, Emeritus
Alice is a fourth-generation native of Panola County. She graduated from Carthage High School in 1954. She is the mother of two daughters and has four grandchildren.
Alice brings the qualities of loyalty and steadfast devotion and friendship to Hawthorn Funeral Home. She is a friend to everyone, and Hawthorn's values the services provided by Alice.
"Like so many others, Hawthorn's was there for me when I needed them. I am privileged to work beside people who are honest and sincere about caring for others in a most difficult time in life. I am proud of even the smallest part I play in serving my friends and neighbors that I know and love so well."
Alice Hawthorn Osborne
Fondly known as "Miss Alice" in the community she loved and served for decades, Alice Louise Florey of Overton, Texas, became the wife and business partner of Neal Adolphus Hawthorn when they married in 1922. Together Alice and Neal Hawthorn operated the Hawthorn family hardware business on the west side of the Carthage square where "funeral goods" were sold. Eventually, their expansive white two-story Hawthorn home at 307 W. Wellington St. was remodeled and elaborately decorated to serve as both a family home and a funeral home with the family, including Neal A. Jr., residing upstairs. By that time, Neal had obtained his embalmer's license. In the 1940's, they purchased an appropriate vehicles and hired extra staff and functioned as one of the best funeral homes "east of Dallas". Alice participated in the daily operations of the funeral home business and continued to do so even after the death of her husband in September 1947. She remarried in 1968 to Mr. Mark Oborne.Together, they continued running Hawthorn Funeral Home until they retired in 1968. "Miss Alice" passed away at the age of 97 on March 21, 1999. Mr. Osborne preceded her in death by a mere two years. Both were very active members of the First United Methodist Church and many local civic and altruistic organizations.