After 83 years, Hamilton Funeral Chapel closed its doors on June 23 at the retirement of its president, LaMont Hamilton.

Though the funeral home has closed, the legacy of the Hamilton family continues through the thousands of families we have served with dignity and integrity, and the many African-American owned funeral homes throughout eastern North Carolina that have benefitted from the mentorship and commitment to servant leadership begun by Levi Hamilton Sr. and carried on through his children -- Shirley, Levi Jr. and LaMont.

Clients who have pre-need insurance through Hamilton Funeral Chapel will be transferred to its corporate affiliate, Thomas-Yelverton Funeral Home in Wilson. Shirley Hamilton Carter will be available to answer all questions and concerns regarding customers' pre-needs during this transition. To call Carter, call 919-672-7226.

All other premiums for life insurance policies initially purchased through Hamilton Funeral Chapel should be paid directly to the insurance company via mail or online. Hamilton Burial Garden will remain in operation and continue to serve clients with their burial needs.

After several years of declining health, it has become medically necessary for LaMont Hamilton to step away from day-to-day operations. He also wants to spend more time with his family.

"My clients have been my extended family for most of my life," Hamilton said. "I regret having to leave you. However, it is obvious I was going to have to leave one way or the other. To you whom I love, and I do love you, I bid you farewell in order to survive."

Hamilton Funeral Chapel was founded in 1934 by Levi Hamilton, Sr. Upon his death in 1968, his widow, the late Geneva Bass Hamilton, and sons, Levi Jr. and LaMont, took over the Goldsboro and Wilson operations, respectively.

Their sister, Shirley Hamilton Carter, joined the firm as a licensed funeral director in 1984.

In 1996, after Levi suffered a major stroke, LaMont also began operating the Goldsboro firm. In July 1998, Hamilton Funeral Chapel became affiliated with Wilson Financial Group, the largest African-American funeral group in the United States, a relationship that lasted until June of this year.