I n the year 1868, in Richmond, Virginia, a family whose infant had passed approached Henry Cooke, a free Black man skilled in cabinet and furniture making about a casket. Henry purchased lumber and made a baby casket. He later, made a second casket and placed it in front of his building on 16th and Broad Street. Thus began the Cooke family in the business of funeral service.
The business became very profitable enabling Mr. Cooke to acquire horses, carriages and hearses. As Henry and his wife, Lavinia Lewis’ seven sons and five daughters grew into adulthood, his industriousness demanded that he launch out into other cities for new funeral service opportunities. Danville and Newport News were selected as the sites with Richmond as headquarters.
In 1891, Cooke Bros. Funeral Home was established in Newport News with brothers; John O. Cooke, William S. Cooke and Jacob A. Cooke operating the business.
In 1932, William S. Cooke’s daughter, Edna Cooke and her husband McKinley T. Whiting acquired George E. B. Tabb & Company on Rte 3 in Williamsburg, Virginia and renamed it Whiting & Tabb Funeral Home. They would later move to York St., and to 7345 Pocahontas Trail. After the death of Mr. Tabb, the business’ name was shortened to Whiting’s Funeral Home.
After out growing the location at 7345 Pocahontas Trail, William T. Stone, grandson of William S. Cooke and nephew of McKinley and Edna Cooke Whiting envisioned a new and more modern facility and moved the funeral business to it’s current location, 7005 Pocahontas Trail.