Ferguson Funeral Home  

Ferguson Funeral Home  

“A QUAQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION!”  

Little did a young Samuel D. Aultman surmise, his service in the Union Republic Army during the Civil War would lead to a career in funeral service, label him as a pioneer of embalming techniques, and commence a business that would span 125 years.

Born April 15, 1845 in East Huntingdon Township, Aultman utilized his knowledge obtained as a Union Army field mortuary technician and returned to his native area, establishing a funeral parlor in Scottdale that to this day serves clientele throughout Scottdale and the Faywest area. Currently known as the Ferguson Funeral Home, it was acknowledged in 1974 by the Scottdale Centennial Committee and lays claim to the title as the community’s oldest business.

Following Aultman in 1899 was a community activist, J. Patrick Owens, a turn of the century undertaker and livery service operator who delved into public service to mold Scottdale in the early 20th century. Owens held the distinction as the Charter Exalted Ruler of the Scottdale Elks Lodge #777 when it was formed in 1902 and Charter Grand Knight of the Father Lambing Council, Knights of Columbus. He met William Ferguson, a foreman at the town’s casket factory and suggested working together to formulate a partnership “Owens and Ferguson Undertaking & Livery” in 1901.

A cabinetmaker as trade, Ferguson was born in 1869 at Ayershire, Scotland, graduated from the Barnes School of Anatomy in 1903, and served Scottdale as Republican Burgess in 1908. It was shortly afterwards when Owens retired due to a bout with lobar pneumonia that “Bill” as he was called, took in his sons George and John to operate the Ferguson Undertaking & Furniture Store respectively, located at 120 Pittsburgh Street, Scottdale. William Ferguson served the Board of Trade as Chairman and helped formulate the Rotary Club but it was his stern business sense and sympathetic demeanor that led the funeral home to flourish during two world wars.

George Ferguson, the second generation, was credited with a vision to construct a new funeral home in the late 1930’s that eventually experienced a change in burial customs. Home viewings, visitations, and wakes were a common part of the death process thus the first blueprinted funeral home east of the Mississippi went virtually unused until William’s death in 1951. Tragically, George died as a result of a business ambulance accident just a year and ten days later in January 1952. His wife, Nellie operated the firm on a widow’s license until her son, Robert B. Ferguson, the third generation, purchased it in 1963. Bob immersed himself into the daily commitment as a funeral director for close to 38 years, serving the community as well. The longest standing board member at Scottdale Bank & Trust Co. and a Rotary Club member, he trained and mentored his son, Robert B. Ferguson, Jr., the fourth generation, until his well deserved retirement in 1992.

After purchasing the business from his father, Rob entered into an era of progressive growth beginning in January 1993. The funeral industry was experiencing a period of tradition in transition, involving shorter visitations, alternative customs, personalization features, and the evolution of cremation. As current proprietor, Rob took on a major renovation and public relations project that expanded and enhanced the Colonial Revival styled home to better serve families and to highlight the history of the firm. An authentic 1880 era domestic made Rockfalls horse-drawn funeral hearse was acquired, a vintage carriage house built, and an aggregate concrete driveway equipped with functioning portico was dedicated to his great grandfather William. He has also adorned the funeral home with many of the handmade work-carved artifacts made by his great grandfather including archways, tables, plaques, stands, and two magnificent grandfather clocks. The funeral home and carriage house are part of the “Homes of Scottdale”, a walking tour brochure developed by the Scottdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now a year long agenda of 125th Quaquicentennial Anniversary events are in the planning stages to commend the true and dedicated longevity of professional service to the Faywest area by the Aultman-Owens-Ferguson legacy.

For additional information, contact Rob Ferguson, Owner, Ferguson Funeral Home at 724-887-5300 or at fergfh@a1usa.net.

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