Before the turn of the century, approximately 1890, Mr. George W. Callison operated Callison Furniture Company in conjunction with Callison's Undertaking Company on the corner of 21st Street and Cumberland Avenue, until moving to the present location of 2321 Cumberland Avenue.
Name and ownership changes were made as follows: in the early 1950's Mr. Callison was joined by an associate, Mr. William I. Shumate, who operated the funeral home until purchasing the business and joined by C.D. Carlisle, and for a brief time changed the name to Carlisle & Shumate Funeral Home. Mr. Carlisle sold his part of the business to Mr. Shumate and shortly thereafter a partnership with a new associate under the name of Shumate Gordon Funeral Home was formed. Upon termination of this partnership, Mr. Shumate became the sole owner, and therefore, Shumate Funeral Home, Inc. was formed.
Shumate Funeral Home circa 1965
In 1961 Mr. Shumate bought the beautiful colonial home of Boston and Rose Wakin, where we are now located. Many improvements in the building were made by Mr. Shumate to accommodate the increasing number of families served. The interior decor was selected by William "Bill" Shumate's wife Mattie, who wanted to provide Middlesboro with a funeral home unlike any other at that time. Mr. Shumate's hard work and dedication to the principles of service to the families and the community started a strong tradition and has lasted for two generations.
Mr. Shumate owned and operated the business until his untimely death in 1964. Mattie, with the help of two sons, James C. who joined the firm in 1964 and Homer C. who joined the firm in 1966, like Mr. Shumate, they continue the tradition of quality service.
During this time Shumate Funeral Home grew dramatically. Because of the growth, the facilities were expanded. Additional property was purchased (known as the Fulton Funeral Home property) adjacent to and including the corner of 24th and Cumberland Avenue. This allowed for additional parking, as well as the addition of a dignified and beautiful chapel, also large visitation rooms and a lounge were added to accommodate the new families of this area.
Shumate Funeral Home was able to foresee changes in the funeral industry many years before they became popular. One of these emerging trends was advance funeral planning or pre-arranged funerals. Since 1961, we have offered complete advance planning for funeral services in advance of need. Today, Shumate's advance planning service allows families to both plan and/or pay for funeral arrangements before the need arises. These advance plans assist families in protecting their loved ones from emotional and financial burdens by offering them the security of knowing their wishes will be followed in the future.
The future of Shumate Funeral Home will be one of continued growth and quality service to the people of Middlesboro and Bell County. Warm, personal service given to families by caring professionals in a comfortable setting has always been our history and will continue to be our standard in the future.