The Interview – John Daviston


Briefly describe yourself and what you do/did.

I am husband, father, Believer, business owner and friend who’s trying my best every day to get each one right.  I grew up in the funeral business working for my father at McKoon Funeral Home & Crematory. Working and owning the business with my father, Terry Daviston, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Best piece of business advice you’ve received.

Treat others not the way you want to be treated but how you want your children to treated.  That is a much higher threshold and I have always remembered that. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s the garbage man or the congressman –  both should be treated with the same dignity and respect.

If I had it to do over …

I would have never started shaving and at 43 years old I would have an incredible beard.  In all seriousness, I probably wouldn’t have changed my major from Finance while at Auburn University.

You are going on an extended solo trip. What three albums and three books would you take?

This is a tough question because I am a people person.  The three albums would be: the Grateful Dead Live at Madison Square Garden from September 14, 1991, Widespread Panic live at Beard Eaves Coliseum from February 18, 1994, and the Beatles White Album.

The three books: The Bible, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, and Walden by Thoreau

Tell us one thing about yourself that few people know

That I am a big fan of the band the Grateful Dead.

You are hosting a dinner party for six. What five people, living or dead, would you invite and why

Another difficult question.  I would say that I would invite Jesus, my late grandfather, Ed Daviston, my father, Terry Daviston, Jerry Garcia, and Warren Buffett. Jesus – because His insights changed the world. My grandfather because he was a coal miner who worked incredibly hard for the benefit of his family.  My father, Terry Daviston, because he has achieved the American dream from growing up in a home with no indoor plumbing to owning his own business. Jerry Garcia because he led a band of musicians who played purely for the love of music and not for commercial profit. Warren Buffett because of his simple-minded approach to investing-He doesn’t invest in businesses as much as he invests in the people running the business.  Mr. Buffett has a talent of finding the best people and empowering them to make a difference.

Name an as yet unfulfilled dream

I’ve always had the dream of my family living in another country for the summer.  I want my children to realize the world is full of interesting people and cultures.

If you weren’t doing what you are, you would be …

I can’t readily imagine doing anything other than being a funeral director and helping families navigate through some of the most difficult days of their lives.  If I were to do something else, it would have to be another job where I get to work face to face with the people I get to help.

Your go-to food.

Jimmy The Greek salad at the Redneck Gourmet

Favorite movies(s)  

A River Runs Through it.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs – which is a good thing because my wife loves dogs and has come home with several. We currently have three dogs.,

Your favorite quote and why

“You get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Robert Hunter.  This is my favorite quote because it articulates that perspective is important. Perspective is everything – even in troubled times there’s always something to be thankful for and be positive about.

Name something that you are extremely glad you did or accomplished

I’m extremely glad I got married. Marrying my wife is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

What advice would you give your younger self just starting out on their own

I would tell my younger self that when someone gives you two options and one of them is “OR ELSE” that you shouldn’t always choose the “or else” option.

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