THE TRUSTED NAME IN FUNERAL SERVICE SINCE 1880
Charles M. Brown, the first of three generations of Browns, came to Hedgesville from Frederick County, Va., near Gainesville. He was a carpenter by trade. An ardent Republican, he served as postmaster in Hedgesville during the McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt administrations.
In those days, coffins were wooden boxes built by skilled carpenters or cabinetmakers. It was a natural step for a skilled cabinetmaker to decide to become an undertaker and manufacture his own coffins. Charles studied Mortuary Science in Baltimore, and opened his undertaking business on Mary Street in Hedgesville in 1880. Tradition states that he was a familiar sight as a professional, wearing a black leather bow tie. He was one of two undertakers in Hedgesville at the time, one to lay away the Democrats and one for the Republicans!
Howard Kyner Brown (1894-1976), son of Charles Mortimer, was born in Hedgesville in 1894 and attended Hedgesville High School. After serving in the military during WWI, he studied Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, beginning in the fall of 1922. H.K. moved to Martinsburg, the present site of the business, in the spring of 1924, and remodeled this facility in 1941. It was here that Charles M. Brown was born in 1926!
Charles M. Brown (1926-2012) Charles was the son of Howard Kyner Brown. Born on King St. in 1926, he graduated from Martinsburg High School in 1944 and attended West Virginia University. He studied Mortuary Science in Cincinnati. Charles started working in the business officially after his discharge from the Navy in June 1947. During his years as a student at West Virginia University, he worked for his dad during the summer months. In 1952, he went to embalming school and was licensed in 1954. Charles was a faithful servant and supporter of our community for decades.
Robert C. Fields, Licensee-In-Charge and President / Owner. Bob is a native of Martinsburg and started with the funeral home in 1982. He is a graduate of Martinsburg High School, attended Shepherd College and graduated from the Catonsville Mortuary College. Bob's wife, Donna, is the Secretary of Brown Funeral Home, Inc. Donna is a graduate of West Virginia University with a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
Bob and Donna have three sons: Brandon - employed by, and manager of, Brown Cremation Services, LLC; Robert - a director and graduate of Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science; and Jordan – a full time Brown employee who has graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science and is an Apprentice Director.
Bob is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, a board member and President-Elect of the West Virginia Funeral Directors Association, and is serving on the board of the West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners by appointment of the Governor. He is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, and a member of other local and national organizations.
Robert R. Rigot (1981-2007) After 26 years of dedicated service to our community, Bob passed away June 19, 2007.