The Florence E. Browne Funeral Home was founded around 1912 by an African American woman named Florence E. Browne. The date 1912 was documented from a receipt written by her for transporting a loved one to Virginia by horse and carriage. Ms Brown envisioned a funeral establishment that could serve the community while simultaneously providing a caring and professional environment for those experiencing the loss of a loved one.
Initially her funeral home was located in the Chelsea section of Manhattan as were many Black owned businesses. In the late 1930’s she purchased a brownstone on West 132nd Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. While maintaining her funeral home, Florence E. Browne played an integral part in the life of the community.
She was known for giving block parties and lending a helping hand to anyone who came to her aside from burying a loved one. She later bought a brownstone located at 436 Lenox Avenue; where it remains to this day.
Ms. Browne was a devout Christian Scientist and it was at the 12th Church of Christ Scientist located on West 123rd Street in Harlem where she met the late Rebecca Noble. Mrs. Noble’s husband David, had returned from serving in the U.S. Army and had graduated from Mortuary Science School. He was looking for a funeral home where he could serve his required apprenticeship.
Dave and Rebecca Noble
During this time Ms. Browne was aging and in need of help. She had never married nor did she have any children. David Noble became her “adopted son” and around 1953, he and Rebecca assumed ownership of the funeral home. All Ms Browne asked was that the name “Florence E. Browne Funeral Home” remain as long as the funeral home existed and the spirit of family & community could continue as her legacy.
In 1960, the funeral home was incorporated. Mr. Noble expanded the vision with continued outreach to the community through involvement with the local churches and community involvement, he continued to advance the legacy delivering quality professional, compassionate service to the families served by the Florence E. Browne Funeral Home.
Following the death of the Noble’s – Mr. David Noble in April of 1990 and Mrs. Rebecca Noble in September of 1995, The Florence E. Browne legacy passed on to Mrs. Noble’s first Cousin, Esther E. Williams.
Mrs. Williams, as the Licensed Manager, incorporated her many years as a social worker to enhance the services provided to the community through pre-planning seminars to Seniors, Housing Assistance, Social Security Administration Advocacy, Bereavement Counselor, and as one of the founding members of the Bereavement Consortium of Central Harlem.
Patricia A. Morris
In 1994, Reverend Patricia A. Morris became associated with the Florence E. Browne Funeral Home, Inc. In addition to being a licensed Funeral Director, she is an Ordained member of the Clergy serving as organizing Pastor to a new Church Plant located within the Harlem community. Ms. Morris also serves the community by conducting pre-planning seminars, speaking at schools concerning careers in Funeral Service and as a Bereavement Facilitator and AIDS Activist. In 2005, after adopting Ms. Morris as her “God daughter”, Mrs. Williams retired & Ms. Morris became the 4th Licensed Manager of the Florence E. Browne Funeral Home.
The Florence E. Browne Legacy Continues...