Supporting families not only in times of grief, but throughout the years, has contributed to the longevity of one of Stanly County’s oldest businesses. Kelsey Funeral Home of Albemarle is celebrating 73 years of serving Stanly County and more than 100 years of service in Salisbury as Noble and Kelsey Funeral Home.
“Our motto has always been to support families, not only in their hours of need, but whenever they need us. We live by that,” Murvyn Kelsey, president and financial officer of Kelsey Funeral Home of Albemarle said.
In 1902, William F. Kelsey and Stephen Noble established Noble and Kelsey Funeral Home. Kelsey’s wife, Lula Spaulding Kelsey, also became an integral part of the business.
“Lula was the first female licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of North Carolina,” Murvyn Kelsey said.
After 30 years of serving Rowan County, the Kelseys branched out and oversaw their sons opening businesses first in Concord and later in Albemarle in 1943. William Francis Kelsey and his wife, Margaret, operated the family business. Margaret and M. Garland Kelsey continued to manage the funeral home following William’s death in 1974, and until her death in 1992. After that M. Garland Kelsey Sr., and Timmie E. White Sr., a licensed funeral director and embalmer, continued to operate the business until Garland’s death in 1993.
Fannye W. Kelsey, M. Garland Kelsey’s widow and T. E. White Sr., managed the family business until White’s death in 2008. Mrs. F. W. Kelsey retired in 2009. Garland and Fannye’s son, Monroe G. Kelsey Jr., and his wife, Murvyn Baker Kelsey, took over the reign in 2009.
Current employees at Kelsey Funeral Home of Albemarle include: Cheryl V. Anderson, CFSP, manager, W. Demar Huntley, Johnathan Davis, Mack S. Bruton, Henry P. Eaton, Jannie McDonald, Michael Goode, Virginia Russell, Emily S. Turner and Monroe G. Kelsey III, fourth generation, great-grandson of William and Lula Spaulding Kelsey.
“Some of our staff have been with us for more than 30 years. They have believed in our service,” Kelsey said.
“We look at ourselves as a family. We are very family-oriented.”
Employees at Kelsey Funeral Home are actively involved in the community. Among other things, employees have delivered meals during the holiday season, assisted with voter registration drives, served as coaches for Little League teams and supported the Little Black Dress Scholarship Award and Back to School supply drive for the E.E. Waddell Center and other organizations in the surrounding counties.
“You feel a sense of service and that you are giving back,” Kelsey said.
“It’s not about how much you amass on this earth, it’s about the service you provide to mankind. It gives you a sense of family.”
Business throughout the years has remained steady, Kelsey said, attributing to it in part, is to the faith of the community in their integrity and excellent service.
In addition to traditional services, Kelsey Funeral Home also offers cremations and contemporary services.
“We believe a family should add their own personal touch to their loved one’s service,” Kelsey said.
“We always want to have a personal touch that depicts how a person lived,” she said, adding that above all else, dignity for both the loved one and the family is their top priority.
“It’s not about the cost of the service, it’s about the dignity of the person. Service is our number one goal.”
Kelsey Funeral Home is at 217 T. E. White Sr. Dr., Albemarle.