By Marlene Hitt
No matter how strong the men are, how good lookin’ the women, and that all the kids are above average, people get sick and old and leave this earth. When the population rises, the settler families can no longer indulge in do-it-yourself burials. So, in the case of the Tujunga Valley, a funeral home was built with personal available.
The first was a ramshackle building touted as “with rustic charm” placed at 7257 Foothill Blvd. The opening was about 1925, well after the arrival of the farmers and the homesteaders. The “Funeral Parlor, an Architect’s Nightmare”, was considered a masterpiece of rustic charm and was called Tujunga Undertakers, operated by White and Brown. They should have named it the “ecru”
Three years or so later the place was bought by Fred Bade and moved to Tujunga Canyon Blvd. Ownership passed on to a charitable group called United Charitable Distributing Assn. In 1957 arsonists set fire to the building Not too sad an occurrence since the structure was a rats nest and fire hazard. A year later, USDA swapped the property to Boulevard Christian Church. Rev. Laven sold to Anawalt Lumber Co. Allan Bade followed his father in the mortuary business until 1857 when Lou Brusseau took over. The last group to be hosted in the old funeral parlor is again a church.
Funeral record number one, as found in the archive of Bolton Hall, records a report on brown and brittle paper:
Mr. Winkle, Conrad. White. No mother’s name. German born. Died – Monte Vista Boulevard, Tujunga. Two ladies attending. Doctor Jelenik. Cause of death – pulmonary tuberculosis. Mr. Winkle, merchant, protestant, married. Died at 37 years and 7 months. Now lies in number 43, grey brocade Viconette by Hollywood Casket Company and rests in Forest Lawn. His casket and pillow one hundred and forty dollars, embalming twenty-five dollars, personal service also twenty five dollars. Paid in full. Dated May 29, 1927.
The records, so carefully kept are a memorial to each life, but there must have been more to Mr. Winkle. Did he really live?
Editor’s Note. Marlene Hitt is a former Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga and a Director on the Little Landers Historical Society/Bolton Hall Museum.