Ideal celebrates 80th anniversary
Ideal Funeral Parlor hosted an anniversary celebration on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The funeral home, located at 106 E. Darlington Street in Florence, is celebrating its 80th year of serving residents of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.
During the celebration, the funeral home introduced its Historic African-American Obituary Database. Ideal has developed a searchable database of obituaries from 1960 to the present. The database will serve as a great resource for African-American families in the Pee Dee looking to research their family tree.
Ideal Funeral Parlor was established in 1939. The original partners were the Rev. W. S. Guiles, the Rev. Arthur James, the Rev. and Mrs. Willie A. Johnson, Flander Singleton, and Jasper Singleton. Many of the families of the original founders are still involved with Ideal Funeral Parlor.
The Rev. W. A. Johnson was named the manager and remained in that position until his death in 1961. The first building was located at 300 Mullins St. in Florence.
In 1968, the physical location moved to 1005 E. Cheves St. In 1996, R. Douglas Hawkins was named general manager. In 2002, Ideal Funeral Parlor moved into its present facility at 106 E. Darlington St.
Upon the death of Rev. W. A. Johnson, Rufus Hawkins was named the manager. During his tenure, the business continued to grow and prosper. In 1986, Ideal Funeral Parlor incorporated with the Rev. Wescott Johnson as president. Upon his death, Evelyn Guile served at president of the board. In 2018, Mr. William Johnson was elected chairman of the board. Current board members include, Johnny Holmes, Leo James, and Taft Guile.
“Today, after 80 years of excellence in service to our community, we are honored to continue the legacy started by a group of African-American businessmen who had vision and foresight to build Ideal Funeral Parlor,” said Douglas Hawkins. “We are proud of our history and heritage of the institution. We stand on some strong shoulders. We could not be here today without the support of the communities throughout the Pee Dee. Today, we are committed to always serve families with the same professionalism, courtesy and respect. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to serve and be a part of this community.”