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Lawton Funeral Home Relocating After 70 Years

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LAWTON Okla_ Another sign of progress on Lawton's 2nd Street comes this week, at the cost of another longtime business.

The Jefferson Funeral Home has occupied the lot at 1st and Gore since 1942.  However, the bulldozers will take it down this week.  Larry Jefferson will relocate the family business to a new site at 1st and D Avenue. So, he's taking one last sweep through the building that was both his family's business and his home.

Jefferson said he has known the business may have to relocate for about seven years. That time has come now, but he's still in shock. He said he is focused on getting the new location ready. He shared with 7News some of his fondest moments about the funeral home before it is turned to rubble.

"It's really sad," Jefferson said. "I understand about progress, and I understand everything else, but there are so many memories in this neighborhood, like old friends I grew up with and things we used to do."

Jefferson's family inherited the home from Jose Fletcher. Jefferson's father, Charles, worked for Fletcher in a funeral home in Chickasha, before relocating to Lawton.

"The community came out in support of our business," Jefferson said. "They came out in support of the Jefferson family. That was one of the greatest memories of the love and the caring the community had for us."

Jefferson said he was born in the home. His parents often reminded him and his two brothers the two bedroom house that doubled as a funeral home was also the family's livelihood.

"I can remember the moments we had to wake up early in the morning in order to get up to prepare for a Funeral or to prepare for a family coming in and everything."

He said he remembers his first job here.

"I was washing the hearse, the family car. I had to do it right, because it sparkled when I got through with it. It was a labor of love."

Jefferson said that passion was instilled in him by his parents, whose fondness for their careers showed even more when they built this funeral home next door.

"My parents never took a vacation," Jefferson said. "Everything that they did, everything that they thought of was towards putting back into the community and putting back into the business."

He said that's why he plans to never officially close up shop. The new location near 1st and "D" is not up and running yet. The success of the business for over seven decades keeps him fighting strong.

"Honor God, honor family, and honor the people that you deal with."

Jefferson said his move should be complete by Wednesday. Many of his things will be housed in storage until the new location is ready. He said that may take up to 30 days. In the meantime, he is working with a funeral home in Chickasha to keep business flowing, while the new building is brought up to code.

Jefferson said the cost of the move comes at no expense to him. The Lawton Economic Development Authority supplied the money to relocate his business to the new site.

 

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