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County cop turned city's youngest funeral director

A historic funeral home in South City is making history again.Nestled on the corner of Meramec Street and Nebr...

Posted: Feb. 20, 2018 5:05 AM
Updated: Feb. 20, 2018 5:05 AM

A historic funeral home in South City is making history again.

Nestled on the corner of Meramec Street and Nebraska Ave is where you'll now find Henry Funeral and Cremation Services. The funeral director is Brandon Henry, 32.

"This was actually the oldest funeral home before they closed in the whole city of St. Louis," said Henry. "It just started as curiosity."

His funeral home is where the old Gebken-Benz Mortuary once sat. The building was built in 1906 and the funeral home severed St. Louisans for 131 years.

Henry is the youngest funeral director in St. Louis and the only black funeral director in South City.

"Nobody really wants to talk about the loss of a loved one, but if we can educate people about the importance of what you can do to plan for the inevitable," said Henry.

His curiosity became a calling. Henry was just 17-years-old when he interned at Wade Funeral Home. He later went off to college to study music, became a St. Louis County police officer for 7 years and ended up coming back to the funeral business, a place he felt he could use to give back to his community.

"Death is something that doesn't pass anyone's doorstep, even my own as a funeral director," said Henry. "To be able to make the process as smooth or coordinate the efforts as smooth as possible means a lot to be able to serve people in this capacity."

Since most people don't like talking about death, Henry is exploring having seminars to help families and individuals with pre-needs and estate planning.

With his years in law enforcement and the funeral business, Henry has seen a lot. With St. Louis coming off a violent 2017 with 205 homicides, Henry says he's seeing a trend.

"With the increase of violent crime definitely our clientele here in the city of St. Louis has become a lot younger," said Henry. "Me, being younger person its very unnerving to sit across a family or a mother who has to bury her child. It's not a good feeling, it's not a natural feeling."

By being a young man, Henry hopes he can be an inspiration and help ease the grieving process for families.

Henry says he wants his funeral home to be modern with a strong traditional look too.

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