Cotten Funeral Home

2201 Neuse Blvd New Bern, NC 28560


  • Rex Allen Bennett


    Following the death of several family members during his younger years, Rex began to feel a calling to serve others through funeral service. Since 2000, he has done his best to offer hope and comfort to families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

    Born and raised in Craven County, he attended Craven Community College before transferring to Fayetteville Technical College, where he earned his degree in funeral directing. Rex has been licensed with the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service since July 2002 and is currently pursuing requirements toward becoming a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner.

    Always having felt a strong connection to his faith, he also graduated from Beacon Seminary and holds degrees in pastoral studies and theology. Rex devotes much of his spare time to serving the congregation of Highland Park Christian Church as a pastor. He is also an active member in the Rotary Club of New Bern and is involved in numerous community service projects and volunteer efforts. Rex is married and together they make their home in New Bern and have 2 children, along with 2 pups, Rosebud and Abe.

  • Raymond R Hackett Jr.

    General Manager

    Raymond "Russ" Hackett has been in the funeral business since 1993, following in the footsteps of his grandfather. Russ obtained his funeral director and embalming license in 1997 from Jefferson State Community College and is also a pre-need insurance sales manager.

    A part of our team since April 2007, Russ is our general and sales manager, responsible for achieving and maintaining excellence in service. He also educates people on the importance of advanced planning, speaking at seminars, community events and churches.

    While under Russ' management, Cotten Funeral Home was placed in the Platinum Club for achieving excellence and received 2 Jimmy Odham Innovation Awards. Russ is a member of the New Bern Civitan Club and Elks Club, serves on the North Carolina State Board of Cremation Authority and is certified to teach Hospice Foundation of America-credited classes. He is also active in the Chamber of Commerce.

    A charter member and elder at Latitude Church, Russ is very active in the community with youth and church league sports. He is married, enjoys boating and has 2 sons. 

  • Christopher Michael Bryant

    Funeral Director

    Since 2011, Chris has provided compassionate care to families in the Eastern Carolina area. Chris earned his degree in mortuary science from the Mid-America College of Funeral Service in 2005. He is proud to be a part of the Dignity Memorial team, guiding you through one of the most personal times in life.

  • Walter R Elks Jr.

    Funeral Director

    Walter has been a member of the Cotton Funeral Home family since 1980 and licensed as a funeral director since 1985. A native of Beaufort County, he graduated from Church Farm School in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and attended Elon College and Craven Community College.

    Walter continues, as always, to serve our community in a kind and compassionate manner and is a member of St. John’s Masonic Lodge and the New Bern Elks Lodge.

    In his spare time, Walter enjoys grilling, boating, East Carolina University football and time with his dog, Abby.

  • Raymond Clyoe Smith

    Funeral Director

    Ray began working at Cotten Funeral Home in March 1970 while a senior at New Bern High School. After attending college at East Carolina University, he decided to serve his apprenticeship. He graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Atlanta. He came back to New Bern and served as a licensed funeral director and embalmer for several years.

    In 1978, Ray decided to open a dry cleaning and laundry business in New Bern, which he ran for 28 years before selling. He then returned back home to serve families in Cotten. Ray is a lifetime resident of New Bern and a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church, where he has served as a deacon, Sunday school director and treasurer. He is also a past master and current secretary of Doric Masonic Lodge. He is active with New Bern Scottish Rite as a 33 degree, has received the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in York Rite Masonic bodies and holds membership in the New Bern Elks Lodge.

    In his spare time, he and his wife enjoy riding their Harley-Davidson and spending time with their 2 dogs, Gus and Luke.

  • James R Odham Sr.


    James is a native of New Bern, North Carolina, where he graduated from New Bern High School. Through this work program, he began his career in funeral service in 1967 and served his apprenticeship.

    In 1973, he graduated from Kentucky School of Mortuary Science. Following graduation, he served at Cotten Funeral Home, which he purchased in 1978, serving as owner and president. Since 1998, James has served in advisory roles and is currently on Service Corporation International's Main Street Group's Board.

    James serves as the president of Odham, Inc. and is a North Carolina licensed auctioneer. He is also the coordinator of the Dignity Awards for Excellence Program designed to inspire service excellence within several funeral service firms. He is a member and past exalted ruler of New Bern Elks Lodge, a member of Doric Masonic Lodge 568, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a New Bern York Rite member and a New Bern Sudan Temple Shriner.

    James continues to reside in New Bern, where he enjoys time with his loving family.