Washburn General Store began business about 1831. As was the practice of the day, the General Store sold coffins, coffin hardware and related funeral merchandise to the community.
We think that the actual funeral home portion began around 1926. E.N. Washburn was the first generation Funeral Director for the business. In 1945, his son Edward began assisting him with the business. Edward became a licensed Funeral Director in 1957. By the late 60's, E.N.'s health had declined to point where he could no longer be fully active in the business. Edward and Catherine assumed full ownership of the firm. E.N. died in 1971. Services and visitations were held in the historic Washburn home. The buiding next to the general store housed the arrangement room, an office and embalming room.
I have worked in the funeral business since my senior year at East Rutherford High School in 1981. My first career was in radio, working at WBBO in Forest City, WXIK-WOHS in Shelby, and WCAB in Rutherfordton. My first employment in funeral service was with Horton Landreth at McKinney-Landreth Funeral Home, and I worked and lived at both Rogers & Breece and Jernigan-Warren Funeral Homes in Fayetteville while attending the funeral service education program at Fayetteville Technical Community College. I was able to graduate (despite the hinderances of several chemisty instructors) with an AAS in Funeral Service in 1984 and was licensed to practice Funeral Directing and Embalming in 1985. I slipped up to Asheville for four years of employment with Groce Funeral Home, and managed get back down the mountain in 1988 to Rutherfordton firm McMahan's. I bought the Washburn Funeral Home in August of 1998 and was able to build the new funeral home and move in March of 2002. On a daily basis, I am one man operation but I am fortunate to have some great part time personnel who come in when we get busy...
Locally, I am fortunate to be surrounded by some fine funeral firms - who I keep a good "mutual aid" agreement with so we can assist each other when we need to with personnel and vehicles... They are fantastic...
Fun quote of the day: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire" - Winston Churchill
Mr. Billingsley serves as the Senior Part Time Assistant and has worked at Washburn & Dorsey since 2001. Our name badges we wear have a "Serving Since..." and a year to follow, so it is clear how long our staff has served. Bob wasn't crazy about that "Serving Since 2001" text on his name badge the first couple of years, and made a case to leave that off. After he got a few years under his belt, it must have been 2006 or so, I suggested to Bob that removing "Serving Since 2001" was a great idea, and by then he did some backing up and said it needed to be left right where it was. Bob goes on many home deaths, works services and visitations, and is our Engineering Department. Our Engineering Department looks at broken or repairable equipment and furniture around the funeral home, and basically confirms, "Yep... that's broke or needs repair...".
Fun quote of the day: "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." -Abraham Lincoln
Funeral homes have a tendency to draw personnel from the fire and police occupations, a lot of these folks have been privy to to strange hours like funeral home staff and they don't scream at you when they are called at 3:07am. Randy retired from the Spindale Police Department after 28 years there (and 2 years at Rutherford County Sheriff's Department) and hopped on board at the Washburn & Dorsey part time staff in 2009. Randy has our staff distinction of wearing his dress coat on staff duties more than the rest of us, the rest of us often shed our coats as quick as we can on a hot day or when we think no one is looking. Having had a deer rifle pointed at him at close range by a deranged inebriated dude at 2 am one morning, we hereby declare Randy the most famous staff member, and can offer him up to non profits for autograph sessions. We used to think he was our best driver, but after hearing about a chase he was in where he ran over a stop sign on Clay Street, Forest City, we aren't so sure...
Fun quote: "Always go to other peoples funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours." -Yogi Berra
Rev. Dean Baughn
Our staff was heavily stacked in favor of the Methodist denomination, and a suggestion was made to branch out into the Baptist reaches to equalize the personnel a bit. In February of 2011, Rev. Dean Baughn joined the staff of part time assistants at Washburn & Dorsey. Dean has pastored churches in Roxboro, Banner Elk, and Rutherfordton. Also adept at telling bad jokes like senior staffer Brackett, we still laugh at his humor "attempts" and tell him he is pretty funny. He already had lots of suits and ties so it doesn't take much effort to clothe him on our part, though we did buy him the matching staff ties and a nice itchy sweater. A couple of times when we called him on his mobeel telephone, he was out hiking - so taking into account that for the most part hiking is a pretty much voluntary activity - we think he likes hiking somewhat.
Fun Quote: "Success is not final, failure is not eternal, it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
Over the years Washburn & Dorsey has trained a steady staff of youngsters, Justin Boone (now of Hall-Wynne in Durham), Matt Wilson (that's Dr. Matt Wilson now...), and Bryan Winslow (Reins-Sturdivant in Newland), so we try to keep a youthful staff member. They are handy to do daredevil things like climbing in high places, they can be coaxed into vacuuming with little fuss, and if they get sprayed with some chemical regulated by the government, their skin seems some semblance of normal before the rest of us. In 2014, Michael Sersland, now residing in the uptown area of Golden Valley, joined the staff to carry on the tradition of youthful staff member. He came to us with an interest in fire (putting them out yes, not starting them...) service and is working on his EMT certfication. If someone collapsed or fell ill at the mortuary parlor, we would be more likely to summon Michael, than we would Randy or Brian, who might simply ask, "hey, do you need some water?" to the afflicted mourner. We aren't totally sure what to call his position, maybe Staff Daredevil...
Fun Quote - "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher" - Japanese Proverb
Considering the age and orthopedic needs of the aging Washburn & Dorsey staff, it was decided (with a great amount of fanfare...) that another youngster around could only help. In early 2017, Paramedic Justin Moore was added to the staff. We were moderately excited to have a Chase High School graduate (2005) to be added to the ranks... Justin graduated from Cleveland Community College and is an instructor in Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Non Violent Crisis Intervention. Around the time of high school years, he worked part time at a South Carolina funeral home. It's also nice to have someone else with glasses on the staff, it spiffs us up a bit.
Fun quote: "If you are trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be" - Maya Angelou
This is Carol, she has worked for umpteen years at the pharmacy in Rutherfordton. Around the funeral home, she is our ladies beautician, reporting to work when needed. For many years she had to answer the phone and work visitations, but we have let her slide on those duties the last few years. Former Anderson County Sheriff (and former Kent Dorsey radio coworker from 1979) Gene Taylor snapped this nifty shot of Carol outside the Washburn Home one day to spiff up our site a bit. She also appears on the Preneed Page, a photo with Swan Quarter/Columbia/Plymouth Funeral Director Steve Bryan serves as our token, "Happy People Having Fun" photo that so many funeral home sites seem to have...
Fun Quote: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, that those what matter don't mind..." Dr. Suess
Jamie has served as Washburn & Dorsey part time employee since 2010, but in recent years his probation beat moved to Polk County. Polk, full of probationees and probationettes - has required so much observation that Jamie hasn't been funeralizing as much as his early years. But we treasure his friendship and presence, and he lives so incredibly close to the mortuary parlor, that he is still kept on speed dial in case we need some help quick. One of these days, Polk's criminal element will slow considerably and Jamie will back in more of a presence amongst the parlor part timers...
Fun Quote - "As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round." - Ben Hogan
After a spectacular career in educating young folks, and a part time career of funeral service for the last 14 years, Mr. Brackett is now retiring for a second time in his life. The staff at Washburn & Dorsey has enjoyed his constant stream of witty repartee, and look forward to seeing him around the metro Sunshine area... Thanks C.C....
Fun quote of the day: "A modest little person, with much to be modest about." -Winston Churchill
It takes a lot of folks working together... To run a funeral home. TASS Answering Service of Albemarle catches the phone for us sometimes. There are times I have to get out of the office, to take a tent down, chase death certificates, or just run errands. We don't have holidays, weekends, or can stay in the bed at 3am when a family calls. It takes a lot of folks and commitment to help the business run smoothly and keep all hours adequately covered. I occasionally get asked about our "quiet" times here, well there's always something to do. Something needs to painted, a room needs to be vacuumed, a state report is due by the 15th, or a car needs to be waxed and cleaned. I placed this photo of me and Bryan waxing the hearse because we rarely find a moment here when everything is totally caught up. I kidded the guys in their bios above, but they really make this place operate. Thanks for looking at the Our Story page, and like everything else I try to do on this site I try to make it plain spoken and interesting...