Our Heritage

Our Heritage

The partnership of John Emberson (1891-1918) and Marion Brown (1891-1931) began selling caskets and arranging funeral service details in a general store at Sumner, Texas, in 1891.

In 1906, they established the Sumner Burial Association and in 1911 they moved the business to Paris and operated it in conjunction with the Emberson-Brown Furniture Store at 30 Lamar Avenue. After the Paris fire of 1916 they moved the funeral and ambulance service to the Moore Building at 115 Clarksville Street. In 1923, Gene Roden was employed by Emberson-Brown Funeral Directors and became the managing partner in 1931.

In 1936, the first electronic organ to be installed in a Texas funeral home was added. It also became the first funeral home in Lamar County with Chapel facilities.

This building on South Main Street is currently being restored by Harrison-Walker-Harper, Inc. Mr. Roden acquired additional interest in the business in 1938 and again in 1952 to become the sole proprietor.

In 1938, the beautiful and gracious residence of the Rufus Scott family at 425 S. Church street, became the funeral home's new location.

Through the years this most spacious structure has been readily adaptable to meet our changing needs. Under Mr. Roden's guiding hand the business developed as one of the finest funeral homes in Texas. His progressive imagination and warm personality brought him great respect from his contemporaries within the funeral industry and from the citizens of Lamar County. In 1954, two strokes required that he restrict his physical activity, but he continued to be interested in the service rendered by his staff until his death on June 4, 1962. After Mr. Roden's death, his wife, Cecile Roden became the sole proprietor of the firm. Her son Paul Gene Roden, Jr., became the next manager of the business and later his brother Marcus Roden joined him and they became co-managers. In 1980 Paul Gene Roden, Jr. left the funeral home to become the President of Northeast United Life Insurance Company, and Marcus Roden became President and General Manager of Gene Roden's Sons. In March, 2006, the building was purchased by Arvin Starrett. Following significant interior redesign and remodeling, it was formally rededicated on June 11, 2006. It was then sold and purchased by Don and Kandice Pryor on June 6, 2016.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Visit www.prepaidfunerals.texas.gov for information relating to the purchase of pre-need funeral contracts including descriptions of the trust and insurance funding options available under state law.
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