Our History

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.


Although we have grown a lot since our humble beginnings as Washburn Undertakers in 1857, our focus on providing families with compassionate service has never changed and it is this passion that has helped to shape who we are today.

Started by William P. Washburn one year before Minnesota became a state, Washburn Undertakers began as a furniture store, which was common at the turn of the century, and is still seen in small communities throughout the country. Eventually, Washburn chose to specialize in funeral service and changed the company name to Mortuary, to reflect this position.

In 1931, to recognize the support and service of his nephew Donald R. McReavy, the company became Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapels, the name it retains today. When Donald R. McReavy died unexpectedly in 1949, his wife Lillian and young son William L were quickly called in to lead the business. Although just 17 at the time, William became a strong presence at the company and on his graduation from the University of Minnesota, expressed his desire to continue his father's plan of expanding the business to provide premiere funeral service to the entire Twin Cities area.

Shortly after his graduation, William married his college sweetheart Kathleen Hammer, and while establishing their family, they also began to build the business. William made the decision to change the company's hearses and coaches to the color white; he was the first in Minnesota to make this change.

In 1963 the company expanded to northeast Minneapolis with its first acquisition. A few years later, Washurn-McReavy crossed the Mississippi for the first time by purchasing the Swanson Chapel in north Minneapolis, where it was remodeled to match the Northeast Chapel. With these chapels began the 'white column' tradition that has become a company trademark.

In 1981 Washburn-McReavy acquired a large competitor and went from five to eight chapels overnight. This move shocked the funeral service community, occurring at a time when most family-owned businesses had only one or two locations.

Despite its departure from the traditional model, Washburn-McReavy was able to manage this expansion, and the more to come, because each new chapel was renovated to ensure that both the facility and the staff were capable of providing the high level of service that the company is known for.

William's son, William W. graduated from the U of M in 1984 and became an active 4th generation family member. Later that year, in Robbinsdale, the company demolished the existing chapel and constructed a new building from the ground up, the first building to be specifically designed as a chapel.

In the early '90s, William's daughter Cyndi McReavy-Seitz, joined the business to provide administrative support for the growing company. The company experienced more growth in the '90s, and 1997 saw the company establish its most northern and southern locations in Coon Rapids and Eden Prairie, respectively.

The company made its first jump into the cemetery business with the purchase of Peterson-Stolberg chapels in 2001, gaining Hillside Cemetery. With a chapel on the grounds, they were able to provide more convenience for families. Their foray into cemeteries did not stop there. In 2005 the company acquired a new chapel as well as one cemetery and two memorial gardens, all with chapels located on the grounds.

Memorial Day 2007 saw the grand opening of our newest chapel at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens. A state of the art facility with advanced technology, it offers families many new options for memorial services. A Veterans Memorial, next to the chapel, was also unveiled that weekend. Designed to honor all veterans, it is the largest Veterans monument in the state.

Throughout our history, Washburn-McReavy has been driven to expand, in order to offer our compassionate service to residents throughout the Twin Cities. The McReavy family and many staff are involved in civic organizations throughout the area, including Rotary Clubs, the Woman's Club of Minneapolis, numerous chambers of commerce, Kiwanis, and the Eastside Neighborhood Association. We do our best to give back to the community.