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Our Heritage

A Brief History of the Wilson Funeral Home

It was 1891, and George Lawrence decided to open a funeral home.  He came to Norwich and purchased the undertaking business of the late Albert Cary.  He also purchased a furniture business that was owned by the former L.A. Burr, then merged the two entities into “Burr and Lawrence”.  The business was located on Lackawanna Avenue.  He sold the business to “Beach & Dalton”, moved to Syracuse, then returned to Norwich a year later. Together with H.A. Curtis, he opened another undertaking and furniture business on South Broad Street in the location that is now the drive-up for NBT Bank.  In 1910, the partnership with Mr. Curtis was dissolved and a one-half interest was sold to George Devine in 1915.  Together they purchased the former Dr. J.L. Ray residence at 68 South Broad Street where they continued to operate until 1922 when Mr. Lawrence sold his interests to Mr. Devine.

Mr. Devine operated the Devine Funeral Home and Devine Furniture Store for many years.  In 1949, a young man from western New York (Lockport) came to Norwich seeking employment as an apprentice funeral director.  It was then that Braden (“Pete”) Wilson settled in central New York.  Pete eventually bought a share of the business, after which it was renamed the Devine-Wilson Memorial Home.  The furniture store operation was taken over by Mr. Devine’s son, Richard, and renamed it the Hamilton House.  In 1980, Pete’s son, Doug Wilson, returned to Norwich after graduating from Cornell University and joined his dad in the operation of the funeral home.


The closing of the Hamilton House Furniture Store and the death of Pete Wilson in 1991 brought changes to the funeral home.  Doug Wilson continued the funeral home operation and, in the fall of 2002, following the death of Richard Devine in 2000, purchased the remaining shares of the business.  Its name was changed to the Wilson Funeral Home.  Although the name and has changed several times, the common denominator has been family ownership and dignified, professional service.

John Gawronski joined the firm in 2009, was named manager in 2015, and purchased the funeral home in 2017.  John decided to leave the name of the funeral home unchanged to honor the Wilson family that served Norwich for a combined 68 years.

Although the name and the owners of the funeral home have changed several times over the course of its 125-year history, the common denominator has been family ownership and dignified, professional service.

Since the early 2000's, the Wilson Funeral Home has remained the sole independent funeral home in Norwich.  Maintaining its local connection, its high standards of service, and its affordability has been very important to each of its owners, including the present owners, John and Shannon Gawronski.  

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Dying is one of the few events in life that's certain to occur, yet one we rarely plan for. Should we spend more time preparing for a two week vacation than we do our last days on Earth?

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Proudly Serving the Communities of Chenango County, Norwich, Guilford, Mount Upton, North Norwich, Preston, Pharsalia, Plymouth, South Plymouth, Oxford, Sherburne, Greene, New Berlin, South New Berlin, Smithville Flats, Smyrna, Binghamton, Oneonta, Edmeston, Morris, Bainbridge, Earlville, Afton, Cincinnatus, and and Columbus.
607-336-3993 Wilson Funeral Home
68 South Broad Street
Norwich, NY 13815
Email: wilsonfhny@gmail.com
607-336-3993 Wilson Funeral Home
68 South Broad Street
Norwich, NY 13815
Email: wilsonfhny@gmail.com
607-336-3993 Wilson Funeral Home
68 South Broad Street
Norwich, NY 13815
Email: wilsonfhny@gmail.com
607-336-3993 Wilson Funeral Home
68 South Broad Street
Norwich, NY 13815
Email: wilsonfhny@gmail.com
607-336-3993 Wilson Funeral Home
68 South Broad Street
Norwich, NY 13815
Email: wilsonfhny@gmail.com