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Monte Vista cemetery getting into the funeral business

Robert Houk • Mar 27, 2018 at 9:01 AM

One of Johnson City’s oldest cemeteries is getting a new addition and new mission.

Officials with the parent company of Monte Vista Memorial Park, 1900 E. Oakland Ave., say the cemetery will soon become a full-service funeral home.

Ken Melton, the general manager of Service Corp. International’s locations in East Tennessee, said Monte Vista is undergoing remodeling to accommodate its new funeral business. He said his company has applied for a license from the state to begin offering funeral services — in addition to its cemetery business — once the renovations are completed.

“We feel offering funeral and burial services in one place will be more convenient for families,” Melton said Monday.

Construction is underway on a funeral chapel that will seat more than 100 people. Greg Harris, who has more than 20 years experience locally in the funeral business, has been named general manager of the Monte Vista Funeral Home and Memorial Park. He said the expansion project includes renovations to the cemetery’s current office building to handle its funeral and cremation services.

The project also calls for expansion of parking at the site. Work is expected to be completed by the end of May.

“These are major improvements,” Harris said.

Monte Vista has been in the cemetery business in Johnson City since 1892. The cemetery is the final resting place for generations of area residents, including two Tennessee governors (brothers Alfred and Robert Taylor) and 1st District Congressman B. Carroll Reece.

Service Corp. International, which is headquartered in Houston, operates 11 other funeral and cemetery sites in the region, including East Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Kingsport.

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