In the year of 1925, Mr. Robert R. Reed, the organizer of the National Negro Funeral Directors Association, visited the State of Georgia with the idea of organizing the Negro funeral homes of Georgia into a state association. And thus having the State Association become a part of the National Association.
Mr. Reed called a meeting of all Negro Funeral directors together in Macon, Georgia to discuss the possibilities of forming a State Association. The first meeting was held on May 11, 1923 in Macon. Thus “the first annual meeting of the Colored Funeral Directors and Embalmers of Georgia convened at Kyles Hall, 527 half Cotton Avenue, Macon, Georgia at 2:00 p.m. R.E. Hartley, Sr. of Macon called the meeting to order. At such time temporary officers were elected R.E. Hartley, Sr., Chairman and F.J. Hutchings, Secretary.
The following persons were present at the first meeting: C.B. Berry, Macon; John Byrd, Brunswick; F. Dodson, Sylvania; J.M. Ferrebee, Savannah; J.A. Flournoy, Sylvania; R.E. Hartley, Sr., Macon; F.J. Hutchings, Macon; W.F. Hutchings, Macon; N.D. Jones, Atlanta; E.M. Mann, Cordele; E.J. Ogletree, Griffin; L.M. Pollard, Savannah; S.G. Sellers, Newnan; John L. Sconiers, Columbus; Mrs. B.M.B Simmons, Americus; C.E. Singleton, Macon; P.J. Steele, Savannah; T.C. Williams, Waycross; F.C. Worthy, Atlanta. The following other persons were not present at the first meeting, but sent in their dues, which made them charter: S.A. Jones, W.D. Savage, Herbert Dudley, Nathan Roberts, E.E. Stokes, D.J. Scott, C.S. Cox, George Weems and T.H. Bynes.
The following permanent officers were elected to serve for one year: R.E. Hartley, Sr., President; Paul; J. Steele, Vice President; F.J. Hutchings, Secretary; Mrs. B.M.B. Simmons, Assistant Secretary; John Byrd, Treasurer; L.M. Pollard, Chaplin. During the course of the first annual meeting the following motions were passed.
The organization shall be known as The Georgia Colored Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association.
The dues were $1.00 per year per member.
Constitution Committee was composed of N.D. Jones, Mrs. B.M.B. Simmons and John L. Sconiers.
Columbus, Georgia was selected as the place of the second annual meeting. But before the close of the year 1926, President Hartley issued a directive changing the location of the second meeting to Waycross, Georgia in order that the members might see the Waycross Casket Company, the only owned and operated casket company by Negroes in the state of Georgia.
The Conception of the Districts
At a meeting held in Savannah in 1940, the Association voted to divide the state into ten districts to coincide with the State’s Congressional Districts. Each district was to organize and hold its own district meeting and report its progress at the annual meetings.
The Conception of the Mortician of the Year Award
At a meeting in Macon in 1958 the Association voted to present each year an award to one of its members for out-standing service. Besides presenting to certain members this award, there were also “Citations” presented to other members for their out-standing service, beyond the “Call of Duty” to the association.
The Georgia Association, which was founded in 1926, was a member of the old National Negro Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association of which the late R.R. Reed was executive secretary. Later when the present National Association was organized, the Georgia Association transferred its membership to the new organization. The Georgia Association is therefore, one of the charter members of the present National Association. The Georgia Association has served as host for the National Association meeting in Atlanta first in 1949, 1968 and current years. The late Henry Ivey of Atlanta, a past president of the Georgia Association at one time served as President of the National Association. Since then Georgia has had two other National Presidents the late W.S. Hutchings of Macon, and G. B. Levett of Scottdale.
The Name Change
The original name of the Association was The Georgia Colored Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association. In 1939 the same name was changed to the present name The Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association. The Association was incorporated in July 1959 as a non-profit corporation with no Capital Stock.