Founding Fathers: 19th Century Funeral Service

In the year 1812, David Richards undertook  the task of  building coffins and conducting funerals a short distance over the New Jersey state line in Amity, which is a section of present day Warwick, New York. In 1840, David's only son, Francis Gordon Richards moved to Pompton, New Jersey, (present day Riverdale) and purchases land at the corner of Paterson-Hamburg and Newark-Pompton Turnpikes. It is here that he establishes a homestead for the family undertaking business. 

In 1885, Francis Richards passed away, leaving behind two sons Edward and John to continue the undertaking business together, naming it "Richards Bros." They became the third generation to carry on. Also in this year, John Richards graduated from the New York School of Embalming, one of the first schools known to teach the practice, and became the first genuine embalmer in the family.

A New Era: 20th Century Funeral Service


In 1901, George Richards, son of Edward graduated from the Massachusetts School of  Embalming, becoming a fourth generation undertaker. In 1912, John Richards passed away and the business name is changed to  E.R. Richards & Son. Also this year marked the 100th year anniversary of the Richards undertaking business.

After Edward Richards passed away in 1919, George, his son, continued on with the business. Also in this year, the horse drawn hearse purchased in 1889 was replaced by a new Cadillac motorized vehicle.

1929 saw a need for a more modern funeral home facility, which was constructed next to the original storefront office. The name Richards Funeral Home is now the title of the business. Most  wakes, funerals and embalming up to this point were conducted in private homes or churches. It is over the next 20 years from this time period that  funerals and embalming performed in the home was phased out, hence, the use of the funeral home as we know it today became more common. In 1931, Alton W. Richards, son of George, graduated from McAllister Institute for Embalming and became the fifth generation to join the business. 

In 1955, a new addition is built adding three chapels in the process. In 1957, A. Lee Richards, son of Alton graduated from McAllister Institute for Embalming becoming the sixth generation funeral director to join the business. In 1966, George E. Richards  passed away, and in this year, Richards Funeral Home became incorporated. 

Carl S. Richards, son of Alton, graduated from  McAllister Institute for Embalming  joining  the firm as a sixth generation funeral director in 1969. Richards Funeral Home in 1972 opened a new funeral home facility in West Milford and one month later Alton W. Richards, Senior Director and President passes away. Lee and Carl  assume the management of each facility.

Bryan L. Richards, son of  A. Lee Richards graduates American Academy of Funeral Service and joins the firm as a seventh generation funeral director in 1992.

In 1999, Richards Funeral Home Inc. is honored at the annual New Jersey State Funeral Directors Convention in Atlantic City as the oldest Funeral Home in New Jersey operated by the same family. 


The Age of Computers: 21st Century Funeral Service   


2000: Richards Funeral Home Inc. participates in the newly formed New Jersey State Electronic Death Certificate Registry Program, and becomes the first funeral home to officially record a death certificate electronically with the state of New Jersey on February 25th. This pilot program set the groundwork for future legislation making it required by law that all funeral homes record death certificates electronically by July 2005.


2002: 190 year anniversary of Richards Funeral Home.  


2004: Richards Funeral Home goes online in an effort to present helpful information to those accessing our website.

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