History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Established in 1843, we are the oldest continuous operating business in the city of Memphis. From our predecessors, Wenderoth & Holst, to present-day Canale Funeral Directors, we have been proudly serving the Memphis community for over 175 years.


In 1843, Memphis was more of a big trading post, more of a rough, rumbling river town than it was a city and less than 25 years old, but its growth was as wild as it was and its future was as optimistic and boundless as its youth. In that year, billed as cabinetmakers and undertakers, Wenderoth & Holst Funeral Home opened their doors on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff.

They have never closed.

Through boom and bust, through joy and sorrow, through war and pestilence, through the rise of a great city and amid its great celebrations and challenges, one family has served the families of Memphis in their loss as the generations have flowed by like the river.

Families stand.

The names changed over the years as the family business moved through marriages and through both male and female family members. The location changed as the business grew from Downtown to Midtown, from Union at Bellevue to Union at Lemaster, and since 1969, to Union Extended. Memphis light is still beautifully filtered through the same stained glass window in the chapel. The family remains the same.

Canale Funeral Directors – for 175 years and many generations – family.

That being said, and while the Canale tradition of caring and personal service has never changed, change is inevitable. More than 20 years ago, Canale responded to requests by being one of the very first to include crematory services as part of the company. Canale also took the online lead in Memphis with an interactive website putting families and those who care for and about them in touch wherever they may be at a critical time. And a change they would like to see and haven’t see enough of is pre-planning – using their experience and expertise to arrange every detail from flowers to music to scripture so – at the most trying of times – more time can be spent with family and friends.

As Ford Canale said, “Pre-planning is the greatest gift you can give a child.”

Ford and his brother, Nick Canale, are part of the latest generation of the family in the business, joining the generation before them – father, Warren Canale, and their uncles, Sturla Canale and Bill Lifsey – in the every day operation.

And the calls come every day, at any time of the day, and when they do, one of the family will answer, one of the family will take charge, one of the family will take personal responsibility for the needs of your family. From Canale’s deep faith comes respect for the faith of others, from commitment and experience comes each step, and from time comes understanding.

That understanding – that a time of loss is no time to be sold anything, but a time to be helped with everything – has set Canale Funeral Directors apart from the very beginning.

Here lives are honored, memories are cherished, and love is recognized. And will be every day.

The words beneath their logo are only apt:

“Since 1843, when family matters most.”

Our Valued Staff

Warren S. Canale

Warren S. Canale, Owner & Licensed Funeral Director

Sturla  Canale

Sturla Canale, Owner & Licensed Funeral Director

Bill  Lifsey

Bill Lifsey, Owner & Licensed Funeral Director

J. Ford  Canale

J. Ford Canale, Licensed Funeral Director & Licensed Insurance Producer

Nicklaus  Canale

Nicklaus Canale, Licensed Funeral Director

Mary  McSpadden

Mary McSpadden, Office Manager

Matt  Vinson

Matt Vinson, Non-Licensed Funeral Assistant

Adam  Brasfield

Adam Brasfield, Crematory Manager & Licensed Funeral Director

Sue Ann  Duffy

Sue Ann Duffy, Licensed Cosmetologist