Lee Payne of Vergennes, Vermont became associated with Brown-McClay in 1992. In 2007, Lee and Cynthia Payne bought both the Bristol and Vergennes Funeral Homes. The funeral homes remain under the name of Brown-McClay Funeral Homes, Inc.
Lee and Cynthia take pride in ownership and are pleased to be able to provide comforting individual personal assistance for their clients through trying times.
The full history of Brown-McClay Funeral Homes is on the right.
The first funeral business in Bristol was established by Mervin P. Varney in 1878 in connection with a furniture store located in a building where the Ben Franklin Store on the south side of Main Street now stands in the Patterson Block.
About the same time, Smith W. Hatch also opened a funeral business along with his furniture store. It was located in the three story building on the south side of Main Street, the most easterly part of which now houses a restaurant (Mr. Bumble’s Pub) and apartments and is known as the Hatch Block.
After the death of Smith W. Hatch in 1897, the furniture and funeral businesses were sold to Ryland F. Hatch. In 1914, he sold his funeral business to the Varney Funeral Home and in turn purchased the Varney furniture business.
Upon the death of Mervin P. Varney in 1907, his son, Enoch Warner Varney assumed control. This establishment burned in the 1924 Main Street fire and the business was relocated on South Street in what had been a harness shop. Later, that building became part of the present funeral home structure.
On October 24, 1945, Enoch Varney sold the funeral business to Gordon and Wilma Brown. In 1961, they purchased the William Larrow Funeral Home in Vergennes in 1954 and operated there under that name. James McClay, of Vergennes was employed at that time and operated the business at the Vergennes site. The Russell Gaunya Funeral Home also in Vergennes, was purchased in 195 6. That facility was closed and the two businesses were merged and continued operation under the name of the Larrow Funeral Home.
In 1965, Larry Gile of Bristol became associated with the business. The Bristol and Vergennes funeral businesses were incorporated on January 1, 1977 under the name of Brown-McClay Funeral Homes, Inc. with the Browns, McClays, and Giles as stockholders. At present, both the Vergennes and Bristol establishments operate under that title.
In 1986 Larry and Donna Gile bought both the Bristol and Vergennes Funeral homes, which as of 2004 remains under Brown-McClay Funeral Homes, Inc.
In 1992, Lee Payne of Vegennes became associated with Brown-McClay. In 2007, Lee and Cynthia Payne bought both the Bristol and Vergennes Funeral Homes. They remain under the name of Brown-McClay Funeral Homes, Inc.
(Information above prepared from material provided by Gordon Brown)