Jack A. Stith founded Stith Funeral Home in 1926. Prior to this, he owned another Danville Funeral Home that did not bear his name. The first Stith Funeral Home was originally located on Main Street.
Jack bought a plot of land on West Broadway and built the funeral building in 1938 that is still in use today. It was one of the first two buildings in Kentucky built as a funeral home and is now the oldest remaining.
Jack Brown Stith joins…
Jack B. Stith joined his father at the funeral home after graduating from McAllister Academy of Mortuary Science in 1939. While he was officially licensed in 1940, Jack B. had little chance to work with his father before he was sent off to fight in World War II in 1942.
Upon returning from fighting in WWII, Jack B. worked alongside his father for several years. In 1951, Jack A. Stith died, leaving the funeral home to his son. That same year, Jack B.’s daughter, Mary Logan Stith was born.
Year that Mary Stith began
It was during this year that Mary Sith began working part-time for her father. He refused to hire her officially because a funeral home was “no place for a woman.” Set to prove him wrong, Mary Stith dedicated herself to understanding the funeral business, becoming one of the most knowledgable and capable resources.
Mary Logan Stith and Robert C. Hamlin married, and a year and nine months later they had their first child, AnnYager Hamlin.
After years of hard work, Mary Stith Hamlin was finally hired full-time and apprenticed under her father for the next twelve months. This was the first, but certainly not the last, barrier that Mary broke in her career.
Mary became a licensed funeral director, taking her exam while nine months pregnant. Her 2nd daughter Sarah was born the very next day.
Jack B. Stith passes away
Jack B. Stith died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the Kentucky State Funeral Directors Convention in Louisville. The family was rocked to its core.
Mary Hamlin built a full-sized front porch onto the building her grandfather built, providing a place for family and friends to gather for decades to come.
Despite all odds being against her, in 1988 Mary Stith Hamlin bought the funeral home from her mother, becoming the third generation to own the business and the first female funeral director to be in charge. This was incredibly unusual for the time. When Jack B. died, it seems the whole town told Mary to go home and raise her kids. A parade of local men tried to convince her mom to sell to them instead of her. Yet, Mary was a trailblazer and her mother knew this. Mentor, Friend, Contemporary - Jimmy Preston. Around the time Jack B. died, Jimmy Preston, owner of another funeral home in Danville, sold his funeral home and became Mary’s mentor. Jimmy had been good friends with Jack B. and helped guide Mary into the ownership of Stith. When Preston retired not too long after, he hung around Stith and really became a part of the patchwork of the establishment. After he passed away, Preston was buried by Stith which says something because he still had a funeral home with his name on it in town. To this day, the Stith and Preston families are incredibly close and celebrate their beloved contemporaries.
Robert C. Hamlin joined Mary at the funeral home, taking her lead as he helped to grow the business.
Robert became a licensed funeral director in 1993.
AnnYager Hamlin graduated from John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science, following in her mother’s footsteps. She moved back home and the very next year became a licensed funeral director and embalmer, becoming the fourth generation to work in the funeral home.
In 2006, Mary, Robert, Marcia, and AnnYager bought the Junction City First Baptist Church and turned it into their second location. This building is still the biggest funeral home in our five county area.
In 2008, Stith Funeral Home became the first funeral home in the state of Kentucky to be certified by the Green Burial Council - they could now provide “green” burials such as biodegradable burial caskets.