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Funeral home unveils presidential room

POSTED: February 16, 2009 11:32 p.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Photographs of former President George W. Bush, left, President Barack Obama, center, and first President George Washington hang together on a wall inside the presidential room at the Memorial Park Funeral Home. The room was dedicated Monday for Presidents Day.

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The faces of all 43 men who have led the United States of America since 1789 are now on display at Memorial Park Funeral Home.

The Gainesville business claims it’s the first funeral home in the nation to have a presidents’ room, which holds pictures of all presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama, as well as pictures of the leaders’ boyhood homes and resting places or monumental libraries.

The public is invited to view the presidential room during regular business hours at the funeral home’s location at 2030 Memorial Park Drive.

Billy Hendrix, director of community affairs for Memorial Park, said funeral home owner Jack Frost has been wanting to complete the presidents’ room for a number of years now. Hendrix said he put the final touches on the room Thursday, just in time for its grand opening Monday on Presidents Day.

Hendrix said the business obtained portraits of the presidents through a contact who works closely with the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Hendrix also said he spent much time conducting research and gathering photos through the Library of Congress since he began working on the project in October.

Frost intends for the display to be permanent, and invites Scout troops, local schools and community members to use the room as an educational tool, Hendrix said.

Hendrix said it was intriguing to learn some presidents held jobs as shoe shiners or bag boys before they took office, and other American leaders were once members of the clergy.

"It’s really going to offer a lot of insight into where some of the presidents came from — from a one-room shack to the White House," he said. "It’s just amazing. It shows you to never give up on your dreams."



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