FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS AND PROFESSIONAL STAFF
In the summer of 1976, the late Samuel and Annie Wade Biggers met with members of the Lincoln County Branch of the NAACP. During this meeting they discussed bringing black businesses to Lincoln County. The first business they had in mind was a funeral home. They took a poll of the area residents to see if they would be interested in and support a funeral home.
The response was overwhelming. The next step was to find a person interested in coming to Lincolnton, North Carolina and a location for the facility. They met with the late Edward R. McGimpsey, Sr., along with his family. Mr. McGimpsey searched and looked at several buildings in Lincoln County. Mr. Biggers owned a building in one of the oldest neighborhoods, at 1139 East Pine Street, within the city limits. After Mr. Biggers discussed with his wife, his desire to sell the building to Mr. McGimpsey, Ebony Funeral Service was born. On November 6, 1977, Dedication and Open House services were held. With faith in God, confidence in themselves and the community, their business prospered.
In June 1979 Mr. McGimpsey, Sr. hired Mary Frances White to represent the business as a Public Relations Representative and Insurance Agent. Frances had no prior experience in the funeral profession. She became very successful selling insurance and received several Leading Agent and Top Sales Awards. She is presently a representative for Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company. Frances had an interest in the operations of the funeral service. Being at the funeral home on a daily basis, Frances realized and found her gift. While sitting at her desk one day, she asked Edward R. McGimpsey, II if she could serve her apprenticeship under him to become a licensed funeral director. In 1981, Frances received her Funeral Director’s License and became manager of the Lincolnton firm. She decided to go another step further and attend embalming school at Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service. With the support of her family and the McGimpseys, Frances graduated and passed the State Board in 1987. She received her Associate in Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service.
When Frances returned home from Atlanta, GA, Mr. E. R. McGimpsey, II, the owner of three firms (Lenoir, Morganton, Lincolnton), decided that traveling between three funeral firms was more than he could manage. Mr. McGimpsey, II asked Frances to meet with him and asked her if she would like to purchase the Lincolnton facility. With her being the manager of the Lincolnton firm for several years, the person the community knew and saw on a daily basis, Mr. McGimpsey felt confident that she would do well. After talking with her family, Frances purchased Ebony Funeral Service in 1987.
Mary Frances White became the sole proprietor in June 1988 and her business was born, Ebony & White’s Funeral Service. On, Sunday, May 26, 1996 the Open House and Dedication Services were held for the new additions and renovations. Frances had a dream for the facility and with her faith in God, she had a “God Granted Request.” Frances did a major remodeling and added a new chapel. On May 28, 2006, a Rededication and Open House Service was held.
Frances is very proud to have such a loving and dedicated staff, Kenneth White, LaDonna White, Jackie Little, Robert Mullen, Dennis Millner, Cameron Lamar White, Derek Smith, and the future facility President, Tionna D’Shay White. Frances continues to operate her business in a manner of honesty and respect for her fellowman.