Smith and Gaston Funeral Services, Inc., is one of the oldest black surviving family operated businesses in the City of Birmingham that was founded in 1923, on the principles of the late Dr. Arthur George Gaston and his father in- law, the late A.L. (Dad) Smith. It was the dream and vision of the late A.G. Gaston, that he shared with his wife’s father and it was determined that the two men shared business interests. Therefore, all on one accord, they got together and formulated the Burial Aid Society based on the fact that A.G. Gaston had seen many black families struggling to pay for the funerals of their loved ones. A.G. Gaston was a man of many visions, however, he placed the Burial Aid Society at the top of his priorities, so that people might receive decent burials. He and his father in-law locked arms and began the journey. As they traveled and observed the needs of the people, they began immediately meeting those needs. On the right arm they saw the need for a modern aggressive funeral service and thus, The Smith and Gaston Funeral Directors was born. The year was 1923. It was a very good year, and the Burial Aid Society expanded into the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company. The insurance company took flight serving two out of five families in the city. Both, the funeral home and the insurance business were infants, but were fortunate enough to have leadership that knew how to handle these young organizations. The company was acclaimed to be the finest of its kind in the entire South.
Today, the Smith and Gaston Funeral Services, Inc., is still viable and well respected across the United States of America. The name resonates as well as its city location, Birmingham. The company grew and made its products and services accessible to serving Black Families throughout the South. The company forged surmountable obstacles and took the bitter with the sweet. The very principles on which the foundation of the company was built, still stand true today and are deeply rooted in present day operations. The company is run on the principles of fair dealing: Dignity, Courtesy and Efficiency. These, being the predominating factors in the Smith and Gaston Funeral Services, Inc., therefore dictate that Smith and Gaston is the Leader in the Funeral Directors Service Industry in the State of Alabama and the City of Birmingham. Another set of the principles of Smith and Gaston Funeral Services, was based on Dignity, Beauty and Simplicity, which offers a family affordable and varied selection of choice in the funeral industry; portraying the largest showroom of funeral materials from selection of caskets of many makers to clothing and other funeral accessories.
Smith and Gaston has always been a one- stop shop. You can purchase everything you need at Smith and Gaston, from the traditional burial to cremation. Pre-need packages are also available to off-set inflationary prices of the future. The pride of the company is a well pleased family.
Always searching for means of improving its services and to make certain that families are afforded a variety of stock, it is the largest and strongest company of its kind in the city of Birmingham; operated by the Thomas J. Gardner, Sr. family. It was in 1980 that the late Mr. Thomas J. Gardner, Sr. and his wife, Mrs. Edna Miller Gardner, purchased the Smith and Gaston Funeral Services from Dr. A. G. Gaston. Continuing the tradition as a family operated business, the Smith and Gaston Funeral Services continues its legacy as a family operated enterprise, operated by Mrs. Edna Miller Gardner, her sons, Paul G. Gardner, Eric A. Gardner and Thomas James Gardner, Jr., and a very courteous, loyal, dedicated, committed and professional staff known as the Smith and Gaston Family. Several of the existing local Black Funeral homes originated from this company. The company provided strong business leadership, ethics, professionalism, employment, and training of its employees. The employees at the Smith and Gaston Family, know that a well pleased family provides a repeat-business effect. Our company thrives on repeat customers. The families served are our best investment.