Phil Smith and Brent Massie have a shared philosophy. Each believes that serving families in their time of need is a dedication, rather than a vocation.
Thus the standard of service that Phil Smith and his wife Martha have maintained during the years they have owned Smith Funeral Home and Chapel is transferring to Brent and Annie Massie as they take ownership of the 107-year-old business.
Smith said he has no plans to retire from the funeral business. Instead, he and his wife plan to remain involved as Brent Massie and his wife and their 5-year-old son, Chace, transition into the business and community.
This business acquisition facilitates a homecoming for the Massies. After spending several years working as a funeral director in Hannibal, the family moved to Huntsville, Mo., where Brent managed a funeral home for the last five years. Annie grew up in Hannibal, the daughter of Lisa Willett of Hannibal and the late Bob Willett.
The Massies consider themselves lucky to have the opportunity to continue a funeral service with so much history and respect in the community. “We are both here to serve families and we want to keep up the tradition that Smith Funeral Home has offered,” Brent Massie said.
The sale of the business comes almost exactly 50 years after the current building was constructed at 2619 St. Mary’s Ave. in Hannibal. “I want to stress that I am not retiring or leaving the area. At the age of 73, I realize someone younger, with similar passions and the desire to care for others, needs to come in and provide continuity for the families in the area. Brent will carry on the love of life celebrations that have been a part of Smith Funeral Home and Chapel for more than 107 years,” Smith said. He went on to add, “Dave Davis, who has been with me since 1985, will also continue to be a part of this expanded family, and we are all thankful for that.”
Phil Smith said that he and his wife were very selective about who they talked to regarding the sale of the business.
“Martha and I have always felt a great deal of gratitude for the opportunity provided by (previous owner) Crawford Smith when we purchased this funeral home. This transfer of ownership, on our part, represents our sincere and deep desire to ensure the finest funeral care continues, in that tradition, for the families we’ve served and will serve in the future. We were lucky to find someone (Massie) who is an asset to the community and has roots in the area,” Phil Smith said.
Brent Massie is a member of Holy Family Parish and the local Knights of Columbus, Council #907 and intends to become more active in the community. “As the transition work evens out, I hope to get involved in one or two more local civic clubs. Part of caring for others is doing what you can at all times, not just when a family calls you for a service. I’m looking forward to keeping my family involved here in Hannibal,” said Massie.
The Smith name has been on the funeral home since 1909 when William M. Smith purchased half interest in the existing Fritz and Curtis Funeral Home. The name, according to Massie, will remain in place.
“We are both here to serve families and we want to keep up the tradition that Smith Funeral Home and Chapel has offered for 107 years. I enjoy helping people; I feel like it is kind of a ministry - helping people in their time of need.”