About Branscumb Funeral Home
Branscumb Funeral Home was established in October 1928 in Brinkley, Arkansas by the late Nathan G. Branscumb (1893-1968) and Ruth S. Branscumb (1890-1985). It is one of the oldest African American and family owned businesses in the community. It was located at 307 West Cypress Street where it served Brinkley and many surrounding communities for more than fifty-three years in the same location.
The business was operated as a family enterprise by the Branscumbs, after Ms. Branscumb retired from the teaching profession. They also founded the Branscumb Burial Association, which is still very active in several communities today, in 1945. Under the auspices of Mr. Branscumb the establishment was incorporated on February 15, 1968 with Mr. Branscumb as President, Barbara Brooks-Wallace as Vice-President and Ruth S. Branscumb as Secretary. Mr. Branscumb operated the business until his death in October 1968. Ms. Ruth Branscumb from the time of her husband’s death until 1971, when the business was purchased by Ms. Barbara Brooks-Wallace.
Barbara Brooks Wallace begin working for the Branscumbs in the late 1950’s. She attended the Dallas institute of Mortuary Science in Dallas, Texas and graduated in 1960. She continued to work for the Branscumbs after returning to Brinkley following her graduation from mortuary school.
After purchasing the business in 1971, Ms. Wallace continued to operate the business for the next 29 years, with the help of her two sons: Franklin Cecil Teague (1944-2000), Thomas Stanley Teague (1950-2012) who were both licensed Funeral Directors and Embalmers; other employees included: Emmitt Jerome Conley (1922-2001), Winston Lang (1913-2008), Wilson Adkins Jr. (1948-1988), William “Billy” Wallace (1924-1983), Roderick V. Hicks, Dave Calahan and Isaiah “Beaty” Jackson (1949-2011) and James Clifton “Lindsey” Teague (1948-2015).
During her Tenue as owner, Ms. Wallace had a vision to take Branscumb Funeral Home to a different level. She wanted to build funeral home facility that was large enough to house a separate chapel in order to serve the public and especially those with no permanent church home. In 1980 her dream was realized when she decided to build the facility currently located at 911 North Main Street in Brinkley. The building was completed and dedicated in 1981.
In early 1999, Barbara Brooks Wallace decided to retire from the funeral profession. She sold Branscumb Funeral Home to the Johnson & Gilchrest Families on July 1, 2000. The name then changed to Branscumb Johnson & Gilchrest Funeral Home as it still remains today. The current owners of the Branscumb Johnson & Gilchrest Funeral Home are Curtis and Doris Johnson, Carl Johnson, Venita Johnson Burley (1943-2003) and Carolyn Johnson Gilchrest and Normal P. Gilchrest.
After purchasing Branscumb Johnson & Gilchrest Funeral Home, the Johnson & Gilchrest families added several other staff members to help continue the tradition of service and excellence in funeral service: James Clifton “Lindsey” Teague, Chancellor R. Tucker (Licensed Funeral Director in Arkansas & Louisiana), Rochelle M. Hardin (Director’s Apprentice), Dr. Shannon T. Lewis, PhD. (Director’s Apprentice), Elder Eddie L. Harvey (Director’s Apprentice & Maintenance), Canisha Harvey (Funeral Attendant), and Florence Dodson (Funeral Attendant).
The Johnson & Gilchrest Family and the management and staff of Branscumb Johnson & Gilchrest Funeral Home continue to strive for their decade’s old tradition, started by Nathan and Ruth Branscumb, of excellence, quality and dignity in funeral service that extends to every family that entrusts their loved one to our care. We would like to thank those families for all of the trust they’ve placed in our loving and professional care over the years, and that continue to do so.
Curtis Johnson and Normal P. Gilchrest (standing)
Doris Johnson and Carolyn Johnson-Gilchrest (seated)