Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One
- Foston Funeral Home
- 816 Franklin St. Clarksville, Tennessee 37040
Foston Funeral Home opened its doors in August of 1938 as a business venture by Herman W. Foston and C.A. Dowdy. Herman was a local entrepreneur involved in other businesses, restaurant and night club. C.A. Dowdy was from Nashville and he was a funeral director and embalmer. The first location was at the corner of Tenth and Franklin Streets. Four years later, the business moved to 838 Franklin Street (9th and Franklin Streets) and remained at that location until 1979. It moved again in 1980 to its present location, 816 Franklin Street.
In addition to providing funeral service to the community, the business was a source of information for African Americans during a period when many doors were closed to them. Therefore, it took the form of a community service agency: providing food, clothing, locating housing, making personal loans and assisting many local school children.
There was a time when many residents did not own an automobile and relied heavily on the services of the funeral home to transport them to areas where African Americans could receive medical treatment. During those early years, the firm owned as many as twelve automobiles. The need for transportation was so great that Herman opened the Minute Man Cab Company.
The funeral home has always been a partner with the community and shared in its development and growth. Herman died in 1949 and his sister, Louise, became the manager and eventually the owner of the firm. After Herman’s death, his young brother, Julian, “Bike,” who lived in Chicago, decided to attend Worsham School of Embalming and, when finished, he returned home to help his sister run the business. This team was quite successful and the business became the leading funeral home in the African American Community. Julian died in 1968 and Louise continued the business until her death, December 23, 1990.
Larry Meriwether purchased the business in 1991 and has continued the firm’s tradition of caring service. Under his leadership, the business continues to grow even during a period when the industry is undergoing many changes. Larry began work at the funeral home in 1964, while a junior in high school, and continued his relationship with the firm throughout his college years. Several years later, he returned home to assist Louise because of her illness and remained with her until her death. According to Meriwether, “the funeral business is a wonderful profession and I enjoy the work that I do for the families I serve. It is a care giving business, compassion, understanding, patience and dependability are extremely important in this industry. My goals are to continue to offer the highest quality of funeral services to all persons in the community.”