|Brannen-NeSmith Funeral Home has been serving the families of Dooly and surrounding counties for three-quarters of a century. The funeral homes, which are located in Unadilla and Vienna, were once operated as separate businesses, but merged in 1982. |
In the 1920's, most funeral homes were part of furniture or hardware businesses. In Unadilla, Ernest Shepherd operated Shepherd Funeral Home above his hardware business. Some years later, he purchased the house where the funeral home is located today. The home previously served as the parsonage of the Unadilla Baptist Church. In 1950, Ernest Odom joined his staff and then purchased the business in 1957. The chapel that Mr. Odom added to the funeral home in the 1970's was the former Smyrna Independent Methodist Church. Mr. Odom continued the operation of the funeral home until 1982 when he sold it to Rooney Bowen, who merged it with Bowen Funeral Home in Vienna.
R.C. Akin opened the funeral home in Vienna in the early 1930's. He continued operating the funeral home until 1962, when he sold the business to Rooney Bowen and Talmadge Everett. Since its beginning, the funeral home was located just off the square in Vienna where the Bank of Dooly sits today. In 1976, Bowen-Everett Funeral Home moved to its current location. In 1986, Bill NeSmith purchased both funeral homes from Rooney Bowen and shortly thereafter changed the name to Bowen-NeSmith Funeral Home.
In 1994, Bill NeSmith left the day to day operation of the funeral homes to pursue his law degree. Rodney Brannen, who had been on staff since 1987, became manager of the funeral homes until 2001 when he acquired 50% of the business and the name changed to Brannen-NeSmith Funeral Home.
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