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.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Rare Photo: Gladys Presley's Original Gravesite at Forest Hill Cemetery — Mother of Elvis Presley

2012.11.18 08:47 PM

Want a Bird’s-Eye View of Memphis 50 Years Ago? The Historic Aerials Website Gives You That — and More

The Historic Aerials website is a treasure trove of images for historians and anyone who wants a glimpse into the past — without using a time machine.
2015.07.17 11:06 AM

When Trent Wood Met George Bruno

It’s handy when two people I’ve written about come together in one photo: in this case, TV personality Trent Wood and Bruno’s By-Ryt owner George Bruno.
2015.07.21 12:18 PM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

Lost Memphis: South Belvedere — Wait, It’s Still the Same!

The trees have grown, but South Belvedere has changed very little since this photo was taken in 1926.
2015.07.30 02:56 PM

When Trent Wood Met George Bruno

It’s handy when two people I’ve written about come together in one photo: in this case, TV personality Trent Wood and Bruno’s By-Ryt owner George Bruno.
2015.07.21 12:18 PM

Want a Bird’s-Eye View of Memphis 50 Years Ago? The Historic Aerials Website Gives You That — and More

The Historic Aerials website is a treasure trove of images for historians and anyone who wants a glimpse into the past — without using a time machine.
2015.07.17 11:06 AM

Add your comment:
Edit Module

Buy the Ask Vance Books

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

Got a question for Vance?  Email him here.

Find Vance's old blog posts (pre-April 2011) and comments here.

Be Vance's friend on Facebook:  facebook.com/vancelauderdale

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Ask Vance Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags