Friday, June 22, 2007
Mike and I had an incredible visit with Gene and Margaret Amos, of the Amos Family Funeral home on Johnson Drive, one of the very few remaining independent funeral homes along the path. Gene has been very invested in local history and has written records of his family history, anecdotes from his life in the mortuary business, and has contributed to StoryCorps efforts to document the oral histories throughout the United States.
Gene has an incredible wealth of knowledge of the history of Shawnee, particularly regarding its growth into into the diversified suburb that it is today. One thing that caught my attention was his reference to the ongoing international corporatization of the funeral business.
This is from USA Funeral Homes online:
In recent years, there has been a growing and alarming trend toward consolidation in the funeral home industry. Many neighborhood funeral homes thought to be locally owned, are often owned by a national, publicly-traded corporation, which can lead to more standardized but perhaps less personal service from a business that may be more dependent upon and responsible to the investment community than the local community.
I'd assumed this would be the last industry that would shift from local to international control. There are signs however that the few remaining locally-owned funeral homes are prevailing.
For now, Amos continues to be managed by the family in its original stately location in downtown Shawnee.