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Who’s Who in Funeral Service

Elleanor Davis Starks Bio

Elleanor Davis Starks's blog

Randy Sanderson and Melvin Bryant, Wade Funeral Home, St. Louis, MO

Posted by Elleanor Davis Starks on October 1, 2015

  Wade Funeral Home was founded in 1914 by Walter Wade. At that time there were only three existing funeral homes that would serve African American families. The ambitious Wade wanted to give superior care and service to all families, which was a groundbreaking concept in 1914.

  With the help of his dedicated wife, Mary, the home, which originally sat on Finney was on its way to becoming the kind of funeral home Walter dreamed of. They were known for their tireless work ethic and overwhelming warmth. Although the untimely passing of Walter was a tremendous loss to the community, the funeral home and Wade’s tradition lived on. Mary courageously ran the home alone as the Wade’s had never been blessed with children. In the early 1940’s Walter Wade’s nephew Gilbert Wade Granberry, returned from the Navy and approached his aunt with a simple request to buy the funeral home.

  Granberry was a born entrepreneur; he owned and operated his own funeral home, Anchor, before he purchased Wade from his family. “Mr. G” as he was known by many was also one of the founders of Central West End Bank. His broad knowledge of business made him perfect to run the family business. The business continued to grow under Granberry’s leadership and he opened a second location that was located in Kinloch, MO. Later he acquired a third location at 4828 Natural Bridge in the mid 1970’s. For a brief period all three locations were operated.

  As the business grew, Granberry later decided to keep the business in a single location and expand. Wade Florist was acquired in the 1970’s and in 1992 Granberry seized another opportunity for Wade as he purchased and remodeled the 22,500 square foot building currently known as the Twin Chapel, in honor of his twin sister Garnette which he affectionately called her “Twin.” Granberry was also instrumental in training many of today’s successful funeral homes’ owners, many of whom got their start at Wade.

  In 1999, Granberry sold the business to Perpetua Inc., a firm that owned funeral homes and cemeteries across the country. At the time, Granberry was named president emeritus and helped Perpetua through the transition.

  On June 17, 2014, Wade Funeral Home and Florist was acquired by the ownership team of Saint Louisan Randy Sanderson and Melvin Bryant. They are committed to continuing the great legacy started by Granberry for the next 100 years and beyond.



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