History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
In June of 1931, Charles A. Edenbach Sr. was granted a license as an Undertaker from the City of Newport after graduating from the McAllister School of Embalming in New York City. In 1932, Charles A. Edenbach Sr., established his storefront funeral business at 89 Broadway. In 1936 he relocated to 375 Broadway into a new building. He and his wife Loretta Sullivan Edenbach designed and built the funeral home and it is believed to be one of the first to be built for this purpose in Rhode Island.
Mr. Edenbach Sr. was a visionary in many ways, being most notable was his creation of the colonial styled structure specifically created to provide family and friends a means to pay the finest tribute to the memory of their loved one, without hardship. His creation of this "home for funerals" was quite a new idea in the mid 1930's, as funerals in that era were usually conducted from the family home.
The funeral home structure itself was so advanced and complete when built, that it served the needs of the Newport community for more than 50 years before any significant changes were warranted. In the late 1980's, Mr. Edenbach's sons, Charles Jr. and Robert, paid tribute to their mother and father by extensively renovating the funeral home and dedicating a new funeral chapel to their memory.
In 1964 Mr. Edenbach's son, Charles A. Edenbach, Jr., joined his father as a licensed funeral director after graduating from Holy Cross College and receiving his funeral director training at the New England Institute. With his son now sharing more and more of the responsibility of the funeral home, Mr. Edenbach Sr. and his wife Loretta (Sullivan) Edenbach began to enjoy traveling. Charlie lived in the funeral home with his young family and they and grew the business with the help of his wife Joan (Egan) Edenbach. They then welcomed his brother Robert S. Edenbach into the family funeral home after he graduated from Fairfield University and later serving with the U.S. Navy.
Our Valued Staff
Robert S. Edenbach, President
Robert is a 1964 graduate of Fairfield University with a BA in Sociology. He served in the US Naval Reserve from 1965-1974 as a Lieutenant with Destroyer and Mine Warfare ships. Robert joined his father and brother in the family business in September of 1968 and graduated from the New England Institute in 1970 acquiring both Massachusetts and Rhode Island Funeral Director/Embalmers licenses. He has two sons, Robert Jr. and Christopher. Robert is a member and past president of the Newport Rotary Club. He is an active member and currently the Commanding Officer of the Artillery Company of Newport. This group participates in revolutionary war re-enactments and maintains a museum in Newport, RI. Bob also enjoys skiing, boating, hunting and motorcycle riding.
Kurt Edenbach, Funeral Director
In the spring of 1997, Kurt M. Edenbach, son of Charles A. Edenbach Jr., joined his father and uncle in their funeral homes as a licensed funeral director. He returned to Newport after graduating from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and receiving his professional training at Gupton Jones College in Atlanta, GA.
Since that time he has taken on many of the day to day responsibilities of the funeral home, including coordination of the preplanning services, grief support and aftercare, and staff education. He is a member of the Rhode Island Funeral Directors Association and an active member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. In September of 2003, he married Meaghan O'Neill Edenbach and they live in Newport with their son and daughter. He now volunteers some of his time by serving on the Board of Directors for the Robert Potter League for Animals, previously served on the Board of the Newport County YMCA, and is a member of the Newport Yacht Club and St. Joseph's Church. Kurt enjoys snowboarding and sailing in his free time with his family.
Chris Edenbach, Funeral Director
In 2004, Christopher M. Edenbach, son of Robert S. Edenbach, joined his father and cousin in their funeral homes and has been serving as a Licensed Funeral Director since August 2008.
In 1996, Chris received his BA in American Studies and African-American Studies from Trinity College, Hartford, CT. After moving to Washington, DC to pursue a career in politics, he received his Masters in Information Systems Development from George Washington University in 2003. Chris graduated in December 2007 with an Associate's Degree in Funeral Service from the American Academy McAllister Institute in New York City, NY. In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling, sports, music and spending time with his family, friends and golden retriever, Jackson.
Edward Gurka, Funeral Director
A funeral service professional since 1984, Mr. Gurka has been a licensed funeral director with our firm since 1988. He began his career at Curtis J. Holt Sons Funeral Home in Woonsocket. Ed resides in Middletown and enjoys gardening and traveling. He was raised in a restaurant family and attended Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts College. With this experience, he helps facilitate the funeral home's “Cooking for You” program, a part of Community Connections. Ed currently serves on various bereavement boards at Newport Hospital.
Jeff Smith, Funeral Director
Involved in funeral service since 1988, Jeff grew-up in Warwick, RI and was formerly a Funeral Director and Registered Embalmer with the former Lawrence E. Fagan, Jr. Funeral Home in North Kingstown, RI, Peter J. Barrett Funeral Home in Warwick, RI, and Nardolillo Funeral Home in Cranston, RI, before coming to Memorial Funeral Home in 2006. Jeff is a graduate of the New England Institute of Anatomical Science at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA.
Sean Hackett, Funeral Director
Sean has worked for several years in funeral service, originally as a Certified Crematory Operator, and more recently as a Funeral Director's Apprentice. Sean recently graduated from FINE Mortuary College in July 2008 with an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science. He received his funeral director’s license in January of 2009. Sean is a 30 year resident of Aquidneck Island, living in Middletown with his wife and family.
Jonathan J. Cagney, Funeral Director
Jonathan J. Cagney began his career in 2006 apprenticing for Jones Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home in Portland, ME and earned a funeral director’s license in 2008. A Newport native, Jonathan accepted a position at the firm to return to Aquidneck Island.
He is a 2008 graduate of the New England Institute at Mount Ida College Newton, MA; 2005 graduate of the University of Baltimore, MD, and 1998 graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School Warwick, RI.
Jonathan is a member of Hiram Lodge 180 A.F.& A.M., Joppa Royal Arch Chapter No. 13, Portland Council No. 4 R.&S.M., and Portland/ St. Alban Commandrey No. 2 Knights Templar.
Leo Dube Jr, Funeral Director-Preplanning Specialist
Leo is a licensed funeral director and is our preplanning specialist. His years of experience while focusing on this topic has given him a keen understanding of the needs a family has in this difficult time. Planning ahead is hard, and good advice is priceless. If you would like to learn about what options you have, Leo can help you find the peace of mind of knowing your wishes are taken care of.
Mary Kennedy, Funeral Service Coordinator
Lisa Alves, Office Manager