Funeral and cremation

Cotten Funeral Home


How may we help you?

At Cotten Funeral Home & Crematory, we have been an important part of the New Bern, North Carolina, community and surrounding Craven County areas for more than 100 years. Our caring team members are committed to providing you with guidance and support every step of the way, whether you’re planning in advance or have an immediate need for our funeral and cremation services.





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Free Funeral Planning Resources

Funeral planning can seem overwhelming. These guides can help you every step of the way—from choosing between traditional burial planning and cremation, designing a religious ceremony or a celebration of life, and deciding on cemetery property or filing for veteran's benefits.

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We celebrate life

Reception area at Cotten Funeral HomeWe believe that each funeral service should celebrate the unique and special qualities of the individual being honored. Our team members will work with you to help create a memorable, one-of-a-kind tribute that reflects your loved one’s passions and personality. Adding a personal touch to a funeral or memorial can include everything from distinctive music and displays of photographs and memorabilia to professionally catered receptions and extravagant themed events.

Here for you in many ways

When the tribute event is over, our service to you does not end. We can assist in family matters such as veterans and social security benefits, insurance and other aspects of your personal affairs. Please don't hesitate to see how we can help you.

Trusted provider

We are proud to be a member of the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers. When you choose Cotten Funeral Home & Crematory, you not only receive the compassionate care you expect from a New Bern-operated establishment but also the value you deserve from the largest and most trusted network of funeral, cremation and memorialization providers.

Contact us

Signage at Cotten Funeral HomeYou are always welcome to visit us at 2210 Neuse Blvd. in New Bern. Our team members are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please give us a call if you need immediate assistance or if you would like more information about our funeral and cremation services.


Cotten Funeral Home began not as a funeral home, but as a firm known as the Joe K. Willis Company, a local tombstone maker. The exact dates of when the firm was founded are unknown, but it began well before the turn of the century and has been in continuous operation for more than 100 years.

From tombstone maker to funeral home

The grandson of Joe K. Willis and Albert Willis Jr. formed a partnership with Frank Ballard to create a business that became known as Willis & Ballard Funeral Home. Albert went on to become a history teacher and never returned to work at his funeral home. He eventually sold his part of the company to his partner, Frank.

New owners take over the firm

Through the years, the funeral home changed owners again. Eventually Tommy Best and Billy Dowdy became partners in the funeral home. The new owners continued to operate under the name Willis & Ballard Funeral Home. During these years, the funeral home operated a public ambulance service along with its funeral home operations. Billy eventually sold his part of the partnership to Tommy. At this point in the funeral home’s history, it was relocated from what is now known as the Pugh Building in downtown New Bern to its current location at 2201 Neuse Blvd.

The Cotten family purchases the business

A while later, Russ Conner purchased part of the business and became a partner in the company. In March 1970, the funeral home was sold to R.L. Cotten Sr. and R.L. Cotten Jr. The name of the business was then changed to Cotten Funeral Home. The Cottens actively operated the funeral home until September 1, 1978. At that time, the business was sold to James Ray Odham Sr. He had been a funeral director and embalmer of the funeral home for many years. In 1981, Eastern Carolina Crematory was added on site at the funeral home.

A century of funeral service

Today, we are members of the Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery providers. After more than 100 years of service, we continue to grow, evolve and provide quality service to families in New Bern and the surrounding areas.

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