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Memorial Park Funeral Home planning expansion
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Hall County’s largest funeral service company has begun renovations on what will be their third location.

Memorial Park Funeral Home purchased the former Providence Church building at 989 Riverside Drive in September. The church remained in the building until earlier this year.

The interior of the 14,000 square foot building is being reconfigured to include four visitation rooms, a casket showroom, a lounge, offices and a chapel that will seat 350 people.

"We believe that there is a definite need for a funeral home on the north side of Gainesville," said Kevin Wetzel, president of Memorial Park. "This will be convenient for families on the north and east sides of the county."

The only funeral home in the northern portion of Hall County is W.R. Strickland & Sons Funeral Home in Clermont.

The new location, which will be called Memorial Park Riverside Chapel, is expected to open in June.

Memorial Park began as a cemetery which was started by Hubert Vickers in the 1950s. The company’s first funeral home was opened in 1990 at 2030 Memorial Park Road. A second location, Memorial Park South, was opened in 2001 at 4121 Falcon Parkway in Flowery Branch. In addition to their funeral home and cemetery, the company operates the only crematory in Hall County.

"We feel that what we do is a service and calling to the community," Wetzel said.

Wetzel said that management of the new location has not been named.

Hall County has current funeral homes that date back to the 1920s.

Ward’s Funeral Home on Main Street, which originally opened as Newton & Ward, began offering funeral services in 1928. Young’s Funeral Home opened in 1932 and currently operates at 1553 Old Athens Highway.

Greenlee’s Funeral Home, which was recently purchased by Christopher Wimberly, opened in 1938 and is located at 325 Summit St.

Little-Davenport funeral home was opened in 1954 by businessmen Paul Little and Pete Davenport. Now owned by Service Corp. International of Houston, Texas, the firm is located at 355 Dawsonville Highway.

Mason & Ward Funeral Home was formed three years ago after the business was sold by McDonald & Son Funeral Home of Cumming. The funeral home, at 1190 McEver Road, was founded by businessman Johnnie Wiley 14 years ago with Jimmy Brewer and Ben Mason.