On June 8, 1920, the Gupton-Jones School of Embalming was founded by L. A. Gupton in Nashville, Tennessee, to teach the art and science of funeral directing and embalming. In the beginning, the school had two faculty members to teach the young men and women in the South the courses in mortuary science. Over these many years, the faculty and facilities increased. The old "castle style" home of the Gupton-Jones College on West End Avenue in Nashville was a landmark well known to many.
Many practicing professional morticians in the South and Southeast today are alumni of this historic institution.
In March, 1954, the members of the Class at Gupton-Jones on West End Avenue in Nashville and members of the faculty who chose to do so were transported to the campus of the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science in Dallas, Texas, thus these two fine respected names in mortuary science education were merged. In June, 1969, the long dreamed of move into the southeast to Atlanta, Georgia, was accomplished and once again, Gupton-Jones College, as it was named by that time, was re-established as an individual, approved, and accredited school with all its rich history.
The first Atlanta home was a temporary one and the first class, enrolled in a night program, was made up of twenty-nine young people. In the projection of enrollment and growth, the board had anticipated only a few students to enter in the September Class, also a night program, but again, a record number of twenty-five matriculated into Gupton-Jones College.
With this reception of the Atlanta based school, the Board had to speed up the projected move into larger quarters, especially since the first regular daytime courses were to be enrolled. Early in 1971, Gupton-Jones College classes were held on the fifth floor of 1330 West Peachtree Street, a facility which offered larger quarters renovated for the purpose of mortuary science education. These facilities were anticipated to be sufficient for use for at least five years, perhaps longer.
It soon became apparent however that the move to a much larger campus would be necessary as enrollments continued to increase. In September, 1974, the Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of property at 280 Mt. Zion Road and I-75, on which was excellent parking and which was located in a semi-residential area, accessible to shopping, the Hartsfield International Airport, hotels, restaurants, etc., as well as to public transportation. It was the ideal new home location.
With the inclusion of many subjects in the social science areas such as psychology, sociology and counseling, the name was changed in 1980 to Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, thus reflecting the type and quality of education offered by the College. In 1982, authorization was awarded to the College to grant the Associate of Science Degree in Funeral Service. The authorization was granted by the Georgia Department of Education and with it, Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service truly became a full service institution dedicated solely to the purpose of funeral service education.
By the mid-1980's as a result of the continued growth of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, it became clear that the existing facilities were fast becoming inadequate to meet the needs of the College family. In 1984, the facility at 280 Mt. Zion Road was extensively remodeled, adding a new library, class-room space and staff offices. The College enjoyed its newly enlarged facility for several years until, again it became obvious through continued growth that a new home for Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service was needed.
After an exhaustive search, a 3.4 acre property was purchased in the Snapfinger Woods Park of Dekalb County, Georgia. A beautiful new state-of-the-art facility was designed by a prominent funeral service architect. The Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new home of the College was held November 14, 1991. Construction began shortly thereafter, with the move into the new facility taking place August 26-28, 1992. On Sunday, October 4, 1992, the formal Dedication of the new facility took place during an afternoon Open House.
|Board of Trustees
John W. Firestone