New Ownership at Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory

Murrell W. Thornhill IV New Co-Owner with Chris Tharp

For Immediate Release

Lynchburg, VA: Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. announced today that Murrell W. Thornhill IV has become an owner of the company.

Thornhill started in the industry at Community Funeral Home in Lynchburg, the first African American-owned funeral home in Lynchburg, established in 1946 by his grandfather, M. W. “Teedy” Thornhill, Jr., who also served as Lynchburg’s first Black mayor in 1990. Murrell Thornhill joined Tharp Funeral Home in 2014 and has served as Location Manager for the Lynchburg facility which is home to the company’s administrative offices, chapel, visitation rooms, and a cremation facility.

Thornhill stated: “Growing up and working with my Grandfather in a family funeral home, I know how that informs the way we treat the families we help – it’s a family serving family focus that puts the client’s needs first and foremost. When I decided to make a change, joining Tharp – another family-run funeral home with the same shared values I grew up with – it was an easy and obvious choice and it’s been a wonderful fit.”

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory was established in Bedford in 1961, by Glenn W. Tharp, the grandfather of Chris Tharp, who has been owner and president for over a decade. Under his leadership, the business has grown to have multiple locations across Central Virginia, including two on-site crematories.

Of the new ownership arrangement, Co-Owner Chris Tharp said: “Murrell is, quite frankly, the best funeral director and manager I have ever worked with and I couldn’t be happier to move forward with him as my business partner and co-owner.” Co-owner Thornhill added, “Having two third-generation family funeral professionals, one white and one Black, come together as co-owners to serve our community is historic in our region, especially given the history of racial segregation in the funeral business.”

About Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory is the most often-selected funeral home in Central Virginia and one of the fastest-growing funeral businesses in the state. With offices in Lynchburg, Bedford, Madison Heights, Smith Mountain Lake and Roanoke, the company offers comprehensive funeral, pre-planning and cremation services. Founded in 1961, the company currently employs 63 people and assists over 800 families annually.