By Corey Gaffney
My family’s association with funeral service began in 1894 with my great-grandfather Lawrence M. Gaffney. He couldn’t have known back then that his son, grandson and great-grandson would follow in his footsteps.
Each generation has contributed significantly to the Gaffney family business. Those contributions include the acquisition of two other fine funeral homes: Buckley-King Funeral Directors and Cassedy & Allen Mortuary. Their heritage dates all the way back to 1883 and 1885 respectively. Like Gaffney Funeral Home, they owe their existence to pathfinders in the funeral profession.
Today, Gaffney Funeral Home is considered one of the best funeral homes in Tacoma, Lakewood and Puyallup. My great-grandfather would have been very proud of his legacy. I certainly feel honored to be part of such a long family tradition, and I look forward to carry on serving local families with skillful direction and compassionate care, just like those who came before me.
Here’s our story:
1883 – Conrad Hoska moves west to Tacoma and establishes Hoska Undertaking Company. Conrad Hoska is considered a pioneer in the funeral profession, in both our state and country.
1885 – Henry Forkenbrock founds Forkenbrock’s Furniture, Hardware & Undertaking Company in Waterloo, Iowa. His son John D. would move to Tacoma in 1930 and acquire the Cassedy & Allen Mortuary.
1894 – Lawrence M. Gaffney moves to San Jose, California and founds Gaffney Undertaking Company.
1901 – Conrad Hoska helps organize the Washington State Funeral Directors Association and serves as its first Treasurer.
1905 – Lawrence M Gaffney sells Gaffney Undertaking Company and moves his family to Tacoma. He establishes Gaffney Mortuary on K Street in the downtown area.
1910 – Conrad Hoska turns over the management of Hoska Undertaking Company to William Buckley and Edward King, just a month before his death.
1917 – Buckley-King Funeral Directors is one of the founding members of National Selected Morticians (now Selected Independent Funeral Homes).
Mid 1920s – Lawrence’s son Theodore “Ted” Gaffney joins the firm. Ted moves the firm to its present location on Yakima Avenue, also in the downtown area.
1942 – Henry Forkenbrock’s grandson A. Dale takes over Cassedy & Allen Mortuary. He’s joined by his son John D. 21 years later.
1952 – Frank Walters, director of Buckley-King, serves as President of National Selected Morticians (now Selected Independent Funeral Homes).
1973 – Ted’s son T. Lawrence “Larry” Gaffney joins the firm with his wife Ellen.
1981 – Larry and Ellen buy Cassedy & Allen Mortuary.
1986 – Larry and Ellen buy Buckley-King Funeral Directors.
2001 – Larry and Ellen’s son Corey, representing the fourth generation of service, joins the family business.