Blog post by Randi Richardson
There once was a funeral home in downtown Ellettsville. If you didn’t live in Ellettsville during the 1940s and 50s, you probably have no memory of it. In the span of history, it existed only briefly.
The two-story building at 112 N. Sale Street is believed to have been built by the Greenwood family sometime between 1910 and 1920. The Greenwoods, so noted in The Ellettsville Story, sold it to Col. John A. Reeves and his daughter, Etta, in the early 20s. After the death of Etta Reeves in 1941, the house was purchased by Harley O. Bratton, a minister and funeral director, for use as a funeral home. Bratton, who operated the funeral home only briefly, sold it to Max Hudson a native of Greene County, Indiana, in 1952. Max had only recently obtained his license as a funeral director. He renamed the business Hudson Funeral Home.
For reasons now lost in time, Max sold the funeral home in Ellettsville to his first cousin once removed, Lawrence Hudson, in 1955, and went to work as a funeral director for the Greene & Harrell Funeral Home in Bloomington. Lawrence, typically called “Red” because of his red hair, moved into the home with his wife, Marjorie (Hoke) Hudson, and four daughters– Sandy, Susie, Sally and Sylvia. The funeral home ceased to exist and the four girls moved into two bedrooms, Sandy and her sister shared the one that was once used to store caskets.
Red, who had taken a job with Rogers Building Supply in Bloomington in 1948, remained in that position for eighteen years. In 1968 he became the official builder of Long John Silvers’ fish houses and erected more than thirty in a ten year period. His 1997 obituary in a Bloomington newspaper described a man blessed with more than the normal amount of energy who accomplished much during his life.
Red’s daughter Sandy (Hudson) Ray Lane, who was interviewed in 2019 about her father and the property at 112 N. Sale where her family once resided, recalled that she and her sisters attended classes at the old Ellettsville school. She graduated in 1959, married and moved to another location with her husband. In 1968, however, she returned to 112 N. Sale which was still owned by her parents, to use the bedroom once shared with her sister as a real estate office. She worked out of that office until 1979 when her mother passed away. Her father then sold the property but not before building a laundromat immediately north of the home. That property is now occupied by a two-story apartment building.
Sandy’s old home, once a funeral home, yet stands but is in need of some TLC. It has been subdivided into multiple rental units, and its history as a funeral home has long since been forgotten by most people.