|The history of the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home
began with the birth of John William Embser on February 8, 1873, to John Peter and Mary
Zimmer Embser, both immigrants from Germany. The fourth of seven children, he was raised
in Dansville and apprenticed to a barber during his teens. Around 1900, he decided to
follow the funeral profession, and became an apprentice embalmer at a firm in Hornell.
During this time, he met and married Agnes OBoyle, dressmaker for the funeral firm.
After completing studies at the embalming school in Syracuse, he moved to Wellsville and
worked for the Rauber Furniture and Funeral Director Business for about 7 years.
In 1913, John W. Embser purchased the struggling firm of James Earl.
With the funeral parlors across from Fassett House and the two horse drawn carriages
acquired from this transaction, he founded the Embser Funeral Home. The beginning years
were difficult, but the Embser Funeral Home eventually gained a foothold in the local
funeral business. After 10 years, he purchased property on West StateStreet, and the
funeral home moved
to its current location, with the family residence next door.
Walter and Richard, two of his children, joined the business after his retirement in
December of 1938. On February 8, 1939, John William Embser suffered a heart attack while
returning from vacation in Florida, and died at home two days later. By the time of his
death, the Embser Funeral Home was thriving; it had sufficient property for expansion and
was debt free.
Richard Embser took on the task of running the funeral home, after many years of assisting
their father. Following his death, the funeral home was renamed the J.W. Embser Sons
Funeral Home, and it still holds that name. Both sons had been trained at the Syracuse
Embalming School, and were well equipped to run the funeral home. In 1951 the family
residence was remodeled into a second funeral
parlor, allowing two funerals be held at once. In 1960, the Olmstead Funeral Home in
Belmont was purchased, further expanding the Embser Funeral Home. Also in that year, Dave
Gardner, Walter Embsers son-in-law, joined the firm.In 1976, Richard Embser died of
a heart attack. Only months later his son John Embser, who had just completed studies at
SUNY Canton, joined the firm. In 1980, Walter Embser passed away. Six years afterward,
Walter Gardner, Walter Embsers grandson, became a member of the firm. In 1988, as
the funeral home celebrated its 75th anniversary, it was again remodeled into its present
state. 90 years after its founding, J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home remains committed to
providing compassionate service for all your funeral related needs. We appreciate the
trust that that has been accorded to us by area families during these past 90 years, and
hope to continue to serve the families of AlleganyCounty for many years to come.