William J. Smith & Son, Inc. is a funeral home providing services to families residing in Bristol County, RI & MA and surrounding areas. Now known as Smith Funeral & Memorial Services, its origins date back to the nineteenth century. The founder, William H. Smith, the great-great uncle of the present owner, operated a general store right on the railroad tracks. Among other things, he sold furniture, which in those days included caskets when needed.
As time went on, and the Civil War began, the railroads were used to bring fallen soldiers home. Embalming became important at that time, allowing these soldiers time to come home and be viewed by family members. Mr. Smith became interested in this and learned to embalm from the chemical salesmen. As he got older, he taught his nephew, William J. Smith, a pharmacist, how to embalm. When the elder Smith passed away, his nephew took over the business and established an office at 17 Church Street, Warren.
In these days, funerals were run from the family home. Time passes, and William J. Smith's son, Augustine W. Smith (Gus) enters the business. Families eventually prefer not to have the disruption of a funeral in their living room (or, for that matter, the dearly departed in the living room). William, whose family lived next door to the office, decides to move his family into the cottage, which has been the funeral home office, and makes his home into the funeral parlor. People are now coming to wakes at the funeral parlor for set visiting hours, making things much easier on the family.
In 1956, just prior to the death of William, he incorporated the business as William J. Smith & Son, Inc. By then, Gus's son William A. (Bill) Smith had joined the business. Together, they expanded the business by embalming and providing hearses, limousines and pallbearers for other funeral homes. They purchased the Charles Connery Funeral Home in Bristol in 1960, and it became the Connery-Smith Funeral Home.
Gus and Bill worked together until Bill's untimely death in 1981. At that time, Gus's daughter, Rosemary C. Alden, moved her family from Maryland to Rhode Island to be there for her parents. Gus and his wife Alice, who had been the bookkeeper since 1958, ran the business with the help of various employees. Alice died in 1985 and the ownership of the business was turned over to Rosemary. Though she worked full-time for a pharmaceutical / diagnostic company, she managed to keep things together, while Gus and the staff ran the day-to-day operations.
In 1989, Rosemary's daughter, Catherine A. Tattrie, took over the bookkeeping and started the process of obtaining her funeral director/embalmer license. Under the watchful eye of her grandfather Gus, Cathie became an excellent embalmer and displays her compassion for the families served by the funeral home. Her attention to detail, both in surrounding herself with excellent staff and in the way she conducts funerals, is a tribute to her Smith family heritage.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.