Founder of local funeral home dies at 92

Founder of local funeral home dies at 92

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Loved ones are mourning the loss of the founder of M.J. Edwards Funeral Home.

Monroe James Edwards died early Thursday morning.

His funeral home has been a “go-to” for African-Americans for decades. It’s a name that’s proudly been apart of the Orange Mound community for nearly 40 years.

"He started a long time ago and built it up from sharecropping to an almost larger than life name in the city of Memphis," said Monroe James Edwards Jr., son.

Edwards still showed up to work 6 days a week at the age of 92.

"Now keep in mind, this is a man going to a funeral home in a wheelchair or a cane. Can barely walk, but when that clock struck 12 he was ready to go," said Edwards Jr.

Now, the man who took such joy in giving people their final farewell will be laid to rest himself next week.

Monroe James Edwards moved to Memphis in 1947 to work with his father. He co-owned Victory Funeral home, also in Orange Mound.

"I think the impact would be kids growing up during those times, to be able to see a black person who is an independent business man, which you don't see a whole lot of that," said Edwards Jr.

In 1980, M.J. Edwards branched out on his own and opened his first funeral home on an old car lot on Airways Boulevard. It became home to the $295 burial.

The people came in droves, but quite often he did his fair share of free funerals. It’s just the kind of man he was.

"He loved the people," said Edwards Jr.

Now, both of his sons and his longtime significant other are preparing to give Edwards the homecoming he will never forget.

M.J. Edwards Funeral Home now has three locations.

Edwards’ funeral will be next Friday at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.

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