Looking Back To The First Funeral Home In Conway

Years, ago, there were no funeral directors in Conway and surrounding areas. In the 1940’s, burial associations provided funeral products and services to their members. Each of the funeral homes worked with the association that carried members to the Conway Memorial. In the 1970’s ambulance service was initiated.

The oldest funeral home was Pence Funeral Home that was established by John Pence in 1879. Pence had a woodworking and cabinetmaking shop and he would make wooden caskets based on the measurements provided by grieving families. The casket was often made from pine or oak with the interior lined with flannel cloth. Handles were attached to the outside of the casket so that it can be easily carried. An epitaph is placed on the simple flat top of the wooden casket.

In 1886, the shop was destroyed by a fire and Pence had to move into an old building that was outside the business district until he could rebuild. Pence and his partner George Donagley split the business with Donagley taking the cabinet shop and Pence the undertaking business. At the time of his death, Pence was the oldest funeral director and undertaker at Arkansas.

The Pence Burial Association started in 1934 and had 20,000 members by 1940. Ledgers were kept by Pence Funeral Homes from 1881 to 1971 with a list of all the members for whom they provided funeral services.

In 1929, Doolin Funeral Home that was founded by Trust Doolin opened for business. Over the years, the funeral home transferred locations, the last being the corner of Caldwell and Faulkner. It remained in the site for the last 25 years of its operations. When Doolin died in 1960, his widow continued the business until her death in 1966.

These establishments are still remembered by the locals because most of them have experienced the emotional times of saying goodbye to a loved one.

Losing a loved one can be very difficult and frustrating but there is funeral director in Rockingham who will provide the necessary support in the funeral arrangements. All your wishes will be accommodated in the best possible manner while considering the most affordable option for the family.

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