Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, reportedly Montgomery, Alabama’s oldest surviving minority owned business, was established in 1918 within a very tiny space on Monroe Street, located in downtown Montgomery. As has been communicated through generations, Robert Ambers Ross, an insurance agent for Mississippi Life Insurance at the time, pursued his interest in the Undertaking Business in the year 1918. He obtained both a Business License and an Undertaker’s License and reportedly started the business with a single gentleman as his colleague.
The union of the two men, formed during the establishment of the business, was short lived. According to historical events passed down through the years, Robert A. Ross later formed a partnership with a married couple…William and Frazzie Clayton. William Clayton later served as the company’s Embalmer. In 1929 the company became a corporation. Business at the Monroe Street location continued until 1939 at which time the company relocated to 524 South Union Street. In 1958, Ross-Clayton moved to its present location at 1412 Adams Avenue, Montgomery, AL.
Robert Ambers Ross, Founding President, who expired in 1945 named his son David Calloway Ross Sr., as President in 1936. Calloway Ross Sr., a graduate of Worsham Mortuary College, Chicago, was both a Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer. William Clayton, Funeral Director, expired in 1943. Frazzie Clayton, Funeral Director, who expired in 1947, was survived by daughter, Jule Clayton Lewis, Funeral Director. Jule began serving as Secretary-Treasurer in 1947. She expired in 1958, leaving her spouse, Rufus A. Lewis, to later be named Secretary-Treasurer.
The Corporation presently operates under the leadership and management of its President, David C. Ross Jr., Funeral Director and Embalmer, who is a graduate of Gupton Jones Mortuary College, Atlanta. David Jr. was named President of the Corporation in 1978 by his father D. Calloway Ross Sr., who died in 1987. Also, Eleanor Lewis Dawkins, Funeral Director, who officially joined the staff in 1990 and was named Secretary-Treasurer at the passing of her father, Rufus A. Lewis, in 1999.
Ross-Clayton employs a full time staff of thirteen Licensed Funeral Directors/Embalmers as well as over thirty part time personnel which includes other licensed individuals.