With over 100 years of serving the Parkersburg-region, Leavitt Funeral Home is a fifth generation family-run business currently owned by brothers Stephen P. and Jonathon C. Leavitt. What started as building coffins after the Civil War to what is now a funeral home, crematory, and family center, the Leavitt funeral business has significantly evolved and its relationship with the community has substantially grown.
George Elmendorf Leavitt began making coffins in New England, WV in 1865 immediately upon his return from the Civil War. The first recorded coffin sale was 1882, founding the Leavitt funeral business. Carr Thomas (C.T.) Leavitt, George's son, was unexpectedly volunteered into funeral service by his father. Although George founded the business, C.T. was an innovator who significantly impacted local funeral customs. He was the first undertaker to move his business from a store front into a "funeral home," a building used for the sole purpose of arranging and conducting funerals. In 1924, C.T. moved the business to the present site, 403 7th Street. This was the area's first building used exclusively for funerals.
In the 1940's Charles, Ed and Ralph Leavitt, the sons of C.T., became partners in the business. During the next 30 to 35 years, they witnessed only moderate changes in local funeral customs and rituals. The primary changes during this time were the movement of the funeral service from the church to the funeral home as well as the embalming process from the residence to the funeral home.
In 1975 the great grandson of George, Carr K. Leavitt purchased the business from his father, Charles, and two uncles. The 1980's and 90's saw the most significant changes in funeral service customs and in the business, both nationally as well as locally.
In July of 1999 Carr K. Leavitt died at the early age of 58 from liver cancer. His two sons Jonathan C. Leavitt and Stephen P. Leavitt became fifth generation owners of Leavitt Funeral Home on March 13, 2000.
"We were entrusted to continue the Leavitt Funeral Home legacy of stewarding God's work," said Jonathan Leavitt. "As the Leavitt Funeral Home has been a critical part of our region for over 100 years, my brother, Stephen, and I wanted to do something that would ensure that the Leavitt family can continue to positively impact the Christian community.
The brother's founded the Leavitt Family Charitable Fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation in December of 2000 as a way to help them achieve this family mission.
"We have been given the legacy of caring for families and are honored to serve this community for five generations," said Stephen Leavitt. "This charitable fund enables us to make a meaningful impact today and also ensures that we can make a meaningful impact years after my brother and I are gone."
To date, the Leavitt Family Charitable Fund has granted over $62,000 to support our local region with funding given to Good Samaritan Clinic, Wood County Christian School, Wood County Senior Center, and other important entities.