For 60 years, William Gayle "Bill" Hiles helped Lexington families bury their loved ones.
On Friday, Mr. Hiles, who at age 86 was still working full-time as a funeral director, will be laid to rest.
He died Monday at St. Joseph Hospital after falling ill Saturday night.
Mr. Hiles began working for Kerr Brothers in 1949 and worked there until his death.
"He loved being a funeral director," said Billy Shell, a partner at Kerr Brothers. "I never, ever heard him say a bad word about anybody. He was a very Christian man."
Ted Walter, Mr. Hiles' friend of more than 30 years, said Mr. Hiles wanted to continue working for as long as he was able.
"I think he thought that was the key to longevity," he said.
Mr. Hiles was active in fraternal organizations, including a number of Masonic groups, Shriners groups and the United Commercial Travelers.
"He had one night a week that he didn't have something going on, and that was Tuesday night," Shell said. "That was the night he could go home."
Walter said he thinks Mr. Hiles was active in so many groups in part because he enjoyed the charitable work they do.
"I just think he loved people," Walter said. "He would do anything for almost anybody. He wanted to contribute to society."
Mr. Hiles was a World War II veteran who also served as an elder, chairman of the board and trustee at Arlington Christian Church.
Mr. Hiles is survived by his wife of 66 years, Virgie Freeman Hiles, as well as a son, William G. "Bill" Hiles Jr. of Lexington.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Friday at Kerr Brothers on Harrodsburg Road. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, with Masonic rites at 7 p.m.