Our History

Five Generations of Funeral Service
Royal Woodbury Barnard (1843-1922) first established the Barnard Funeral Home in approximately 1887 a short distance south on right hand side of Route 7 from it’s present location in a room on the backside of the family homestead. Often he was paid in goods e.g. (strawberries, eggs, livestock and lumber)for his services and augmenting his income as a roofer, painting signs and carriages between funerals. He used a candle light lantern horse drawn hearse that was kept in service until the day he died. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Embalming in 1900. He served as town representative in 1919 and was known by many for the generous help he gave to others in need.

2nd Generation
John Woodbury Barnard ( 1878- 1964 ) graduated from the Massachusetts College of embalming in 1906 taking over the funeral business upon his father’s death and built the funeral home at it’s current location which has eight rooms and two large apartments above. He was often paid in lumber for his services which played a great role in building the funeral home as it stands today. John also had a business at this location of painting wagons and automobiles to supplement his income between funerals. In 1926 the paint shop and undertaking rooms were partially destroyed by fire , but were later rebuilt.

3rd Generation
John Hilton Barnard ( aka Hilton )(1902 – 1984) graduated from the New England Institute of Anatomy in 1924 and operated the family business from 1943 until the day he died. Hilton and his son John also used the funeral hearse to provided ambulance service to Pittsford, Proctor, Chittenden and the surrounding area from early 1940’s until discontinuation of this service in 1969. He served as town representative from 1937-1938, President of Pittsford Cemetery Association, as well as being very active and supportive in many other town organizations and functions. Hilton was known as a man who was wonderfully kind and and thoughtful to all who knew him and was very dedicated to the family’s he served.

4th Generation
John Hilton Barnard Jr.( aka Jake )(1927- 1995) graduated from New England Institute of Embalming in Boston MA in 1946 and went to work in the family business that he grew up in, taking over the day his father died. He was also a charter member of the Pittsford Fire Department and served as Chief for 13 years and later retired after 37 years of service. He also served the Town of Pittsford as a selectman,President of the Pittsford Cemetery Association, a member of the VT and National Funeral Directors Association and was very active in and supportive to other town and area organizations and functions. He was know by all as being a warm and compassionate man who was very devoted to his family’s funeral service business and the family’s and friends he served.

5th Generation
David Stockwell Barnard (1956 – ) Became the owner and director of the Barnard Funeral Home, upon the sudden death of his father Jake in 1995. David was born in Proctor, Vt; the son of the late John H. “Jake” and Lita ( Fillioe ) Barnard. David attended Lothrop School in Pittsford, graduated from Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon Class of 1974, before attending Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York graduating in 1979 with a associates degree in Mortuary Science. David started learning about funeral service at young age from both his grandfather and father, teaching him the importance of providing caring and compassionate services to family and friends in a very difficult time in life. He carried on this tradition that the Barnard family had become known for over 100 years. Dave and his wife Tracey retired to South Carolina in June of 2018.

Christopher J. Book, became the owner along with his wife Mary in June 2017. He was born in West Haven, VT and graduated from the Fair Haven Union High School in 1988. He graduated from Simmons College of Mortuary Studies in Syracuse, NY in 1994 with a associates degree in Mortuary Science.  He became employed at the Aldous Funeral Home in August of 1992, He and his wife, purchased the funeral home on June 10, 2011 and on June 17, 2011 they purchased the Durfee Funeral Home in Fair Haven. In 2016 they build the Birch Grove Crematory.

He is honored to be able to follow the footsteps of the previous 5 generations of the Barnard family and his goal is to carry on their tradition to provide affordable services that the Barnard family had become known for over the last 100 years. Hopefully we are able to make a difficult time a little easier for any family who might find themselves in need of our services.