- Special Sections
- Public Notices
William R. “Ronnie” Rust knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
At the age of 7, or perhaps 8, he saw an ambulance drive by his home in Lyons Station. He watched it until it passed out of sight.
“I said, ‘That’s what I want to do … help somebody.”
Helping others who are “going through a tough time” continued to appeal to him. As he grew older, he realized that dealing with the death of a loved one was a tough time indeed.
Rust wanted to attend mortuary school after he graduated LaRue County High School in 1978. His mom expressed her reservations and he took a different path.
He worked at Bluegrass Cooperage almost 20 years before he was laid off. After that, he enrolled in mortuary school.
Rust opened funeral homes in New Haven and Boston – and in 2009, took over management of what was then Billy Howell Funeral Chapel in Hodgenville. He had worked with his longtime friend, Billy Howell, in the business, especially after Howell became ill.
Upon Howell’s death three years ago, the funeral home, which was owned by Rondal Wright, became known as Rust-Wright Funeral Home.
Last month, Rust completed the purchase of the funeral home from Wright after a civil suit was settled out of court. He said the suit ended amicably for both parties.
Friday, Rust introduced the community to “William R. Rust Funeral Home – Hodgenville Chapel” after a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the LaRue County Chamber of Commerce.
The 10,000-square-feets, single story, handicap-accessible funeral home was built in 1995 by Bobby Brownfield.
“There is nothing like it in this area,” said Rust.
Rust said the funeral home would continue to offer the “same great atmosphere I have always been a stickler on … treating everyone the same, with respect and dignity.”
He will be assisted by his staff, Frank Bryan, Julie Houk, Roy Abell, Elizabeth Bell, Gordon Thomas and Gordon McDowell.
It’s only fitting to remember Howell’s contribution as well, he said.
He plans to honor Howell with a display near the entrance of the funeral home. The family is providing him with a photo and Howell’s funeral license for the memorial.
“Billy put a lot into this community in the 10 years he was here,” said Rust.