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History & Staff

Our Story

Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.

The history of Henry funeral Home dates back to 1879 when the firm of J.W. Mclarty & Company, operated by Walter McLarty, was located at the corner of Panola Street and Main Street. Mr. Mclarty operated a dry goods business on the other side. The funeral business was found upstairs with Mr. McLarty selling caskets which were picked up in wagons and taken to the homes where families and friends handled the funerals.

Sometime later, Mr. W. B. Carter joined McLarty & Company, serving as a funeral director and embalmer. It is interesting to note that Mr. Carter was one of the first licensed embalmers in the state of Mississippi and held Embalmer's License No.3.

Hamric Henry began work at McLarty's after graduation from high school in 1935. By this time the funeral business had expanded somewhat and included handling of funeral arrangements. However, as a teenager, Hamric was only allowed to operate the elevator to the business upstairs, work in the store, make deliveries, and occasionally help with a funeral. There was no chapel as we think of today. Visitation was most often held in the home and services usually held in a church. 

It was while assisting Mr. Carter that Hamric became interested in becoming a funeral director. He left Water Valley in 1937 to attend mortuary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon graduation he went to work in Batesville at Dickens Funeral Home. At that time, Dickens Funeral Home was one of the only funeral homes in the area to be operated solely as a funeral home. Most communities, including Water Valley, still had the funeral business located in a mercantile store. After one year in Batesville, Hamric returned to Water Valley when Mr. Robert McLarty finally agreed to move the business from his store and opened a facility on the Masonic street side of the McLarty building.

Hamric continued to work for McLarty & Company until 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge he worked at Wells funeral Home in Greenville before returning to Water Valley.

In June 1947, Hamric bought the Water Valley funeral Home (formerly McLarty's). In time the name was changed to Henry funeral Home and in 1957 the McLarty family sold him that part of the building occupied by the funeral home. 

In 1962, Hamric bought the Hale funeral Home from Lawrence C. Hale and consolidated the businesses. This funeral home had originally been owned by Hugh Trusty and later became Newman Funeral Home before being sold to Lawrence Hale. 

Through the years Hamric and Dorothy Jane expanded and updated the building several times. One major renovation was done in 1969, and the parking lot was  added in 1977. During the early 1950's, they also operated a flower shop and for many years provided ambulance service to the community. 

On January 1, 1979, the Henry Funeral Home was sold to Ron Browning of Pontotoc, Mississippi, who later sold the business to the Loewen Group. 

Both buildings, the former McLarty store building and the funeral home were destroyed by fire on September 13, 2001. 

On May 25, 2002, Browning Funeral Home was purchased and renamed Seven Oaks Funeral Home, and construction on the new building began in earnest. On December 7, 2002 Seven Oaks opened the doors of the new building in its present location at the intersection of MS highways 7 & 32. 

Seven Oaks is proud to be a part of the 140+ year tradition of offering our neighbors in Water Valley and the surrounding communities honest and caring service. 

We would like to acknowledge Jane Henry Crow for the compiling of the majority of this history.

Who We Are

Generations of professional, caring service started by our founding fathers in the mid to late 1870’s remains as strong as ever at Seven Oaks Funeral Home of Water Valley, MS. Our mission is to guide your family in honoring your loved one by creating a meaningful ceremony tailored to your needs.  Simple, traditional, or unique services can all be achieved with our attentive and compassionate staff.  Let us help you plan ways to memorialize your life or the lives of those you love.  Careful planning will bring comfort and healing to your family members.  We are available to help you. Call us today.

Billy Childs

Billy Childs

Owner / Managing Director
Brennan Allen

Brennan Allen

Licensed Funeral Director
J. Shane Crawford

J. Shane Crawford

Funeral Director Assistant
John Ard

John Ard

Licensed Funeral Director / Mortician
Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart

Office Manager / Mortuary Assistant
Wesley  Vanlandingham

Wesley Vanlandingham

Insurance / Pre-need counselor
Lou Ann Holt

Lou Ann Holt


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