Lost Memphis: Emma Wilburn Funeral Home
One of the few funeral homes in Memphis run by a woman.
City directories show that Emma Wilburn opened her funeral home in a former residence on Mississippi Boulevard in 1920.
Not only did she work at this address, she lived there, too — which makes her a braver person than most people, considering all the other folks “sleeping” there. The back of the old postcard promotes her services as an undertaker, embalmer, and complete dresser, and it also notes that Wilburn provided “the very best ambulance service, day or night.”
That claim may surprise modern readers, who might not think to call a funeral home if they needed an ambulance. (It’s not really in the company’s best interest, you’d think, to get you to a hospital in time.)
Wilburn closed her firm sometime in the 1930s, and the grand old building housed other undertakers, including Thomas Funeral Home and Southern Funeral Home. A church acquired the property in the 1950s and turned it into a parking lot.