Folsom Funeral Home started in 1905 when Arthur Nye Folsom bought a funeral business from Mr.George Hill for whom he worked. Unfortunately no records exist from the previous business. On February 21st, 1905 Helen F. Emerson died and become the first of over 10,000 people served by our firm. Helen’s services cost her family $184.50. Arthur Folsom ran four funerals that first year. At 32 years of age, and with his third child on the way, it was a risky “undertaking”. But from a small beginning, his business grew every year.
Ten years later, Arthur was joined in the business by his oldest son, Earl W. Folsom. At 15 1/2 years old he became the youngest funeral director licensed in the state, a record that, as far as we can tell, still stands today. Shortly thereafter, the State required a high school diploma in order to obtain a funeral director’s license.
The expanding business, located in a storefront on South Street in Roslindale, needed more space. Recognizing a need by families that were not affiliated with any particular church for a place to hold a funeral service, Arthur and Earl built the first Funeral home in the state that had no living facilities in it. The building at 63 Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale contained a formal Chapel, and two small viewing rooms for families that did not want the body in their home. A small preparation room completed the facility. That was in 1930 in the height of the Great Depression. Another risky venture that turned out to be prophetic of the future.
In time, Earl’s three sons, Earl W. Jr., Richard J., and Donald O. Folsom, all joined in the business. In 1959, feeling the “pinch” of four family members under the same small roof, they outbid J.S. Waterman Co. of Boston to purchase the Smith & Higgins Funeral Co., of Dedham and Westwood. Richard moved into the facility on High Street in Westwood and Donald moved in above the facility in Dedham. The early to mid 1960′s saw several expansion projects fulfilled. The building next to the Roslindale Chapel was purchased, a gas station lot across the street was purchased and the Roslindale facility was expanded to the state that it exists in today. The Dedham facility was doubled in size, and a barn (that held the casket selection room on the second floor) was razed. The parking lot was blasted out of ledge, and a second addition, containing an office, garage and casket selection room was added to the rear of the building.
The early 1970′s saw the continuation of our building frenzy with our Westwood facility being expanded to its present configuration. In 1973, fresh out of High School, Robert M. Folsom joined the firm as an apprentice, and as the fourth generation of the Folsom Family to serve in funeral service. In the mid 1970′s we purchased the Pasini Funeral Home in Franklin, and Charles F. Oteri moved out to that community to run it for us. However, the seventeen mile distance from our other facilities proved to be cumbersome, and the facility was sold to Mr. Oteri, who runs it today.
In 1980 we purchased another “old name” firm, the Graham, Peardon, McHoul Funeral Home in Hyde Park. Years of neglect had ravaged both the building and the business, but we valiantly have attempted to resurrect it. Time will tell if we will ultimately be successful. The late 1980′s saw Earl W. Folsom, Jr. retire.
The 90′s proved to be a mixed blessing for the firm. Both Don and Dick retired, and the staff that once numbered eight employees shrank to four. We did undertake a redecorating campaign in the later part of the decade which included a new casket selection room, and new paint, wallpaper and furnishings in all locations.
In 2002 we purchased the May Funeral Home from Marilyn May when she decided it was time for her to retire. Marilyn ran the funeral home since the death of her husband Russell May, in 1997. This acquisition marks the continuation of a long association between the Folsom and the May families.
March 9, 2000 heralded another milestone in the companies long heritage. Brian R. Folsom became the fifth generation of the family to work in funeral service. In 2007 he became an apprentice in funeral service which led to his licensure as a funeral director and embalmer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2009. He and his father currently own and operate the business.
Our company philosophy can best be summed up in the words of the Bible known as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you”. We run a Christian Funeral Home where every family is treated fairly, with dignity and compassion. To the best of our abilities, we will assist any family with financial difficulties, so that no family has to go without funeral services for their loved ones. Our first and highest regard is for the needs of the families we have been called to serve.
The Open Door
The Open Door Emblem quickly identifies:
- an establishment that complies with the rigid requirements of State Laws, the Board of Health Regulations, and the Sanitary Code. Such an establishment is hygienic and is so maintained for public protection.
- an establishment that provides complete facilities and equipment to serve all people twenty-four hours a day, within the financial circumstances of every family.
- an establishment where the personnel are fully qualified by training and experience to perform an intimate professional service for all families regardless of race or creed.
- an establishment where the business dealings have earned for it a reputation for honesty and fairness in all matters pertaining to the conduct and completion of the funeral service.
“The Open Door” establishment , where is maintained the highest standards of public service and protection, is an organization that is worthy of your confidence.
_ by Wray Wight, Founder of the Open Door Policy