Women Who Mean Business

Sarah Adams Orr is a Woman Who Means Business

Sarah Adams Orr, one of Biz 417's Women Who Mean Business for 2024, is the owner of Adams Funeral Home

By Jordan Blomquist | Photographed by Brandon Alms

Mar 2024

Sarah Adams Orr, owner of Adams Funeral Home
Photo by Brandon AlmsSarah Adams Orr is the owner of Adams Funeral Home. Purchase Photo

Sarah Adams Orr spent a lot of time at the chapel growing up. Whether it was carrying flowers, warmly greeting guests or passing out folders at visitations, Adams Orr was a light during hard times for grieving families. “Most people think of funerals as sad, but growing up around them, I never thought of them as sad,” she says. “People like to call them celebrations of life sometimes, because that’s what they are.”

As the third-generation owner of Adams Funeral Home, with locations in Ozark and Nixa, Adams Orr carries on the legacy. Her grandfather established the business in 1962, and her parents took it over while she was in college. Now, she runs the business with her brother, directing funerals and ensuring families have meaningful services. Growing into a leadership position taught her the vital role of communication. “Also trying to have that balance between getting work done and having some fun at the same time,” she says. “It’s really important to show appreciation for people when we work together and just be grateful, because I certainly couldn’t do this alone.”

While she pours her heart into her business and family, Adams Orr is also heavily involved in the community. “Sarah has given herself and time freely to support all of 417-land,” Ashley Fick says in her nomination. She is President of the Ozark School Board, a member of the Springfield Ballet Board, a founder and former board member of the Finley River Community Foundation, a member of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce and more. Adams Orr and her team are also members of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Missouri Funeral Directors Association, allowing them to attend conferences and discuss new products, such as tribute software, biodegradable caskets and supplies for their crematory.

No stranger to the complexities of grief, Adams Orr often looks to her mother for advice when it comes to business and everyday life.

After losing her first husband, Adams Orr gained a new perspective on life. “Look on the positive side of things. It’ll be okay no matter what happens,” she recalls her mother telling her. “Always find the silver lining and just be in the moment and try to enjoy life.”

Outside of the family business, Adams Orr spends her time doing things that make her, and those around her, smile. Whether that is traveling, going to Disney World, watching her two daughters dance or simply having dinner with her husband, she is consistently seeking joy. In an industry often flooded with stress, Adams Orr aims to lead with composure. “I try to be calm and listen, and try to make people laugh, too,” Adams Orr says. “I know that sounds odd, but when we’re making arrangements, I try to find something to make them laugh. There’s always something to give hope.”


Favorite Podcast
The Disney Dish with Jim Hill

Favorite Book
Anything written by Rick Steves

First Job
I was a sales associate at Famous-Barr

#1 Thing on Your Bucket List
Travel to Italy

Who is Your Role Model?
Sandra Day O'Conner