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Lawrence A. Gupton
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Birth: Aug. 10, 1862
Kentucky, USA
Death: Feb. 19, 1948
Tennessee, USA


If you have any additional information on Professor L.A. Gupton, please share with me at

If you are a graduate of the Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science or Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, please leave a note on the bottom right of this screen. Please include your name, graduation year, and your funeral industry career. Thanks, Dr. Moshinskie (Former instuctor at the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science)


Lawrence Alexander Gupton, secretary, treasurer and general manager of the Gupton Undertaking Company of Nashville, was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, August 10, 1862, and is a son of Alexander and Florence D. (McNeal) Gupton.

Lawrence A. Gupton was educated in the public schools of his native city and of Nashville, being a youth of fourteen years when he was brought to this city by his parents on their removal here.

After completing his public school course he entered the Vanderbilt University Medical College in 1880 and attended two years but did not graduate. Abandoning the idea of becoming a physician, he opened a grocery store, in which he conducted business for eighteen years.

About 1907 he became associated with the undertaking firm of M. S. Combs & Company (Now known as Marshall-Donnally-Combs Funeral Home of Nashville, the oldest funeral home in Nashville) as an employe and after two years in 1909 he organized the Gupton-Sweeny Company, undertakers and embalmers, carrying on business for a decade under that firm style.

In 1919 Mr. Sweeny sold his interest in the business, which was then reorganized under the name of the Gupton Undertaking Company and has so been continued, the patronage being extensive, making the business a profitable one.

On June 8, 1920, in company with W. G. Jones, Mr. Gupton organized the Gupton-Jones School of Embalming, the only school of the kind south of the Ohio river. Mr. Jones became president of the school, while Mr. Gupton was made dean of the institution.

The old "castle style" home of the Gupton-Jones College on West End Avenue in Nashville was a landmark well known to many. Many practicing professional morticians in the South and Southeast today are alumni of this historic institution.

At the meeting of the Conference of Undertakers and Embalmers Examining Boards of North America at Columbus, Ohio, in 1915, Mr. Gupton was made secretary-treasurer of that body and has been reelected each succeeding year since that time. He has the distinction of being the first man south of the Ohio river to be elected to an office in the national association, and for the past ten years he has been a delegate from Tennessee to the National Funeral Directors Association. He is now serving his eleventh year as secretary of the Tennessee state board of embalmers and is probably the most widely known undertaker in the south. In carrying on his business he has adopted the most advanced and scientific methods of the profession and has thus risen to a point of leadership.

In March, 1954, the members of the Class at Gupton-Jones in Nashville and members of the faculty who chose to do so were transported to the campus of the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science in Dallas, Texas, thus these two fine respected names in mortuary science education were merged.

In June, 1969, the long dreamed of move into the southeast to Atlanta, Georgia, was accomplished and once again, GUPTON-JONES COLLEGE OF MORTUARY SCIENCE, as it was named by that time, was re-established as an individual, approved, and accredited school with all its rich history.

The American Funeral Director magazine reported that "Progressive undertakers throughout the United States are leaving the business districts and establishing themselves in private residential areas," says L.A. Gupton of the Gupton Undertaking Company of Nashville.

"This is being done for the simple fact that people feel more at home in a residence than they do in a business-like establishment with the hurried atmosphere of commercial life and the outside noise of traffic that always goes with such places."

"The western states are taking the lead in this new movement, but big eastern firms are not far behind and everywhere one sees signs of undertakers either removing or preparing to move.

"The modern undertaking establishment of the future will bear no outward signs of its business and even the interior, with the exception of the embalming rooms, will be finished at any private home."

This information was gathered by Mr. Gupton while on a tour of the United States to study the advanced ideas in undertaking. He spent some time in the East and then toured the western states, even going as far as California.

Accordingly he has recently opened his new place at 125 Seventh Avenue north where modern ideas are being put into effect.

About 500 people attended the opening of the new Gupton Undertaking, 215 Eight Avenue South.

In 1882 Mr. Gupton was married to Miss Maggie W. Martin of Nashville and to them were born seven children, five of whom are living: John A., who is engaged in the feed business in Nashville; Margaret, the wife of Charles L. Lehning of Akron, Ohio; Lawrence E., an electrician of Nashville; Florence, the wife of A. T. Inman of the same city; and Sally M., the wife of Dan Hannifin of Nashville. The wife and mother passed away in 1912 and is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery.

In October, 1913, Mr. Gupton was joined in wedlock to Mrs. A. W. Phippen, formerly Miss Catherine Burba, a native of LaRue county, Kentucky. By her former marriage Mrs. Gupton has two children: Lottie, the wife of Charles E. Empson of Nashville; and Mattie, the wife of Crockett Melton of Veto, Alabama.

Mr. Gupton is a member of Smiley Lodge No. 90, 1. O. O. F., in which he is a past Noble Grand, and is a member of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. He also belongs to Rock City Encampment, of which he is chief patriarch, and he is high priest of the canton. He is likewise a member of the Pilgrim Knights of Oriental Splendor and for the past twenty-two years he has been chief ranger of the Independent Order of Foresters. His interest in community affairs is shown in his membership in the Nashville Commercial Club and at all times he gives his hearty aid and support to plans and measures looking to the benefit and upbuilding of his city.

Mr. Gupton died February 19, 1948 in Nashville of pneumona. He was buried by Martin Funeral Home in the old Nashville Cemetery.

If you have any additional information on Professor L.A. Gupton, please share with me at

Family links: 
  Lydia Katherine Burba Gupton (1859 - 1936)*
  Mary Childress Gupton Hall (1890 - 1917)*
*Calculated relationship
Nashville City Cemetery
Davidson County
Tennessee, USA
Plot: Benton Lot Section 11
Created by: Jim (Dr. Mo) Moshinskie,...
Record added: Mar 08, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25145522
Lawrence A. Gupton
Added by: Rebekah Mendoza
Lawrence A. Gupton
Added by: Bernard Johnson
Lawrence A. Gupton
Added by: Bernard Johnson
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Gupton College still exists. A good name in mortuary science.
- Bernard Johnson
 Added: Sep. 27, 2012

- Carolyn
 Added: Mar. 9, 2008

 Added: Mar. 8, 2008

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