Second-generation wife and husband team to helm 82-year-old Black business in Lafayette

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser) — A Black-owned business is celebrating 82 years of continuous business in Lafayette — and now its history is repeating itself. 

Kinchen Funeral Home, which opened in 1938, was founded by a husband and wife, Ernest and Edna Kinchen. Now, the business is run by their grandson Eric Singleton, who is being joined by his wife, Theresa.

Theresa Singleton will be taking over some the manager duties, giving the funeral home its second husband-and-wife duo in its long history.

“With our two children now on their own, I knew it was the perfect time to relieve my husband of some of the day in day out business of running the funeral home,” Theresa Singleton said in a press release. “It is truly a 24-hour business. Many days he is exhausted after working funerals all day and still on call at night.”

Theresa Singleton received her certification in funeral services from Delgado College in New Orleans after working in public schools for 34 years.

Ernest Kinchen Sr., the business’ founder, started the business to bring dignity to Black people in death, the company said in a release. Prior to Black-owned funeral homes, many services were held in the homes of the deceased.

“I vividly remember my grandfather saying, ‘You don’t plant a vineyard for yourself, you plant a vineyard for those who come after you,'” Eric Singleton said in a release. “To know we are standing on their shoulders is an awesome responsibility and yet a huge blessing.”

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