The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Texas has selected Claybar Funeral Home, based in Orange County, as one of the three finalists in the large company category for the 2008 Torch Award, which honors for-profit businesses for “exceptional high standards of ethical behavior.”

The winners of the Torch Award will be announced at a banquet May 6 at the Beaumont Civic Center. Stephen M.R. Covey, will be the featured speaker. He is the author of “The Speed of Trust, and the chief executive and co-founder of CoveyLink Worldwide.

Claybar Funeral Home started in Orange in a house in 1946 by Ambrose Claybar. His brother, Lannie, joined the business after returning from military service in World War II, according to the company’s website. Lannie and his wife, Marjorie Brown Claybar, led the business into becoming the leading funeral home in Orange.

After Lannie’s death in 1969, Mrs. Claybar continued in the business with son David. Lannie and Marjorie’s other son, Brown, joined the business in 1973 and assumed the leadership role in 1980.

In the following years, Claybar Funeral Home purchased Clayton-Thompson Funeral Home in Bridge City, Fuller Funeral Home in Orange, Hillcrest Cemetery on Hwy. 87, Orange Forest Lawn Cemetery on Irving Street, along with Kelly-Watkins Funeral Home in Beaumont, and Haven of Rest Crematory and Cemetery in Beaumont. The company also owns Claybar Floral Shop in Beaumont.

In addition, Brown Claybar is a partner with Roy Carroway Jr. in Carroway-Claybar Funeral Homes in Lufkin and Huntington.

In 2007, Brown Claybar’s son, Warren, became president of the family company, while Brown Claybar remains as chairman of the board of directors.

The Torch Award nomination is for Claybar Funeral Home in Orange, Bridge City and Beaumont. Other large company finalists are Anderson Ford Mercury of Cleveland, and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Orange, Bridge City, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Liberty and Vidor.

The small company finalists are DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Lumberton, High Tech Signs of Beaumont, and the Walters Insurance Agency of Beaumont.