Forty-four years ago in 1978, brothers Carrel (C.W.) Whitmore Grandle and Jerry Lee Grandle took over Grandle Funeral Home from their dad, C. W. (Jodie) Grandle. An article in the Daily News Record that year about an open house to view the new addition at the funeral home (which was then called Rhodes Funeral Home) reports about the new reception room, chapel, and three viewing rooms that would double the space. According to C. W. II, the name was changed from Rhodes to Grandle Funeral Home when the brothers became the new owners.
The late C. W. “Jodie” Grandle started working in the funeral business at Loving Funeral Home after serving in World War II and completing mortuary school at Echols in Philadelphia. He went to work for Buck Rhodes at Rhodes Funeral Home and after Buck died, purchased the business in 1958. The Rhodes Funeral Home was established in the early 1890s in Anthony Rhodes’ cabinet shop in Broadway, Virginia, according to the DNR article. Jim Rhodes, Anthony’s son, took over the business when his dad died, and Anthony’s son T. G. (Buck) Rhodes became the owner in 1914. Buck Rhodes opened a “viewing house” near the old cabinet shop. When Jodie Grandle bought the business, he moved the entire operations to the current site. Jodie also operated an ambulance service until the Broadway Rescue Squad was formed; he then donated the equipment to the squad.
The Grandle family moved to an apartment over the funeral home from their grandparents’ farm in Lacey Springs when Jodie purchased the business. Jerry Grandle says that “we had to be quiet upstairs while there were families making arrangements, visitations, or funerals downstairs.” C. W. Grandle II notes that his mother, Ann Grandle, and the four siblings (the late Tamra Grandle Long, C. W. II, Jerry, and Kathy Grandle Turner) helped by answering door bells and phone calls.
C. W. Grandle II and Jerry Grandle worked in most aspects of the business, beginning in middle school and through high school. Following junior college for C. W. II and military service for Jerry, they both received degrees in mortuary science from John Tyler Community College in Richmond, and became licensed funeral directors and embalmers.
Now, a third generation is taking over Grandle Funeral Home Inc. Carrel Whitmore “Whit” Grandle III (C. W. II’s son, Jody’s grandson) and Jodie Turner (Kathy Grandle Turner’s son, Jody’s grandson) had announcements in the newspaper recently that states “Grandle Funeral Home is proud to announce that it is now under the third generation of ownership as of January 1, 2022.” Whit Grandle and Jodie Turner, the new owners, “would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to C. W. and Jerry for their 40+ years of hard work, dedication, and service, not only to the funeral home, but the Broadway and surrounding communities.”
According to the now retired Jerry Grandle “Funeral service is a most rewarding profession. When a family is in a small funeral business, many sacrifices are made. Growing up, we often had to cut vacations short or dad had to leave early to work.” As Whit and Jodie know already, holidays and special events with their families are missed because of work obligations. Still, the Grandle family and their faithful employees (the longest employed was Jack Lohr, as well as Arch Long and Lowell Will, and Angie Crider Hulse who was secretary for over 35 years) express that it has been an honor to serve the families in their community.)
Many families outside of Broadway, including Hardy County, WV, and the Brocks Gap area of Rockingham County, also were served by Grandle family. Funeral services have changed over the years, with viewings originally done in homes. Over the years but especially during the pandemic, there has been a trend toward cremations and private burials and memorial services. Still, the long-standing ethic of service stays the same, with funeral directors working with families at a difficult time when counseling and consolation are as important as making the final arrangements. The pandemic has required many changes. The Grandle Funeral Home website states “Grandle Funeral Home will be following the federal and state guidelines as well as recommendations from the National and Virginia Funeral Directors Associations for the safety of the families we serve and also the communities we serve.”
The three generations of the Grandle family have earned the trust of bereaved families, as evidenced by obituaries which often note, “funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Grandle Funeral Home.”