Establishing a Tradition of Service
Our story begins in January of 1910, when Harry Ernest Turner (pictured at left), a native of Clarendon, and Harry D. Bartlett of Holley, bought the Williamson Furniture and Undertaking Store.
The furniture and funeral combination wasn’t unusual at the time. Historians believe early furniture stores carried coffins and other funeral accessories, which made them a natural link to the funeral business.
Turner, who worked 10 years in a furniture store in Holley before purchasing the Batavia store, published a weekly newspaper, The Holley Standard, as a sideline. Bartlett served as Orleans County Clerk in the early 1900’s, and the pair also had a joint interest in stores in Byron and Holley, which they sold a few years after they came to Batavia.
H.E. Turner & Co. was operated at 111 Main St, the former Newberry Building until 1921 when it was moved to the Cary Mansion at 211 East Main St (Pictured at right). 14 years later the firm moved to the Bean Mansion at 403 East Main St, where it remains today.
Harry Turner served as president until his death on January 30, 1949, when James B. McCulley and Harold J. Bishop took over. The furniture line was gone by the time Bishop assumed sole ownership of the business following McCulley’s death in 1953.
Bishop continued the business with the help of new associates, Harold Kruger and Edward Canty, for a dozen years preceding his own death in 1965, at which time, Canty became president of the funeral home. He and Kruger carried on the Turner tradition with the help of Amos Grefrath and George Patterson.
Mr. Canty retired in 1972, at which time Patterson took over as president. Kruger retired in 1975. Patterson died in December of 1976, and management became the responsibility of James F. Smith, Amos Grefrath and Ed Canty’s nephew, James Canty.
Jim Smith worked at the former C.W. Bohm Mortuary before he came to Turner’s. He became president of the firm in 1977.
As the business grew, so did Smith’s desire to continue the Turner tradition of fine service to the community. He opened the funeral home in Bergen in July of 1988.
Amos retired in 1986. Jim Canty retired in 1992, leaving Jim Smith the sole owner of the funeral home.
In October of 2012, Mr. Smith transferred ownership of the firm to his two sons, Justin D. Calarco-Smith, Joshua J. Smith and his longtime trusted friend and employee, Randy W. McIntire. The partners are joined in the business by Steven L. Johnson. Together we have over 115 years of funeral service experience.