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About Us

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100 Years of History


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Strickland’s, formerly Woods Funeral Home in Somerville began its mission in 1894 when Jebb Lee Woods and Mary Jane Sims Woods established their home in Burleson County. They moved to Somerville when there was no depot, no church, no school, no safe drinking water, no funeral home or funeral director, according to a history prepared by the company. Woods was a clerk in a grocery store, where the merchant also sold caskets, coffins in those days.

Woods went into the funeral business in 1905 after assisting the other store owners and partners. Lee Woods became the community’s undertaker.

The first funeral parlor was in the main part of Somerville on Seventh Street, near the VFW building, where a few caskets were displayed. There was also a small office and preparation room.

In the early 1920s, Woods purchased a beautiful black, horse drawn hearse with rubber tires, being one of the first in the county. By 1929, he bought a Studebaker combination with a dark grey top and a light grey body. This combination had a special flower tray inside arched above the casket to carry the flowers with the remains to the cemetery.

Woods passed away in 1932 and turned the business over to his wife, and oldest son Walter Lee Woods and his daughter Ruth Strickland,

Mr. Woods and Mrs. Strickland were partners until 1966 when Nello Strickland Sr. and Ruth Strickland ran the business for 42 years until the death of Nello Strickland, Sr.

In 1973, the business was incorporated to be known as Strickland Funeral Home, Inc.

Other family members who have served include Nello Strickland, Jr., president, full-time manager; his wife Dorothy Jane Moerbe Strickland, secretary-treasurer; Don Strickland, vice president and co-owner; and Josephine Denham Strickland, director.

The funeral home continues to serve the county and surrounding counties.

Ken Wiltz is the new managing director at Strickland Funeral Homes in Caldwell and Somerville, following a long career at Phillips & Luckey.

Wiltz, who is also buying into Strickland’s with his wife Roxanne as partial owners, began his new duties on Monday, February 1. The Wiltzes will have a further option to purchase the Memorial Oaks and Foehner locations in Brenham and Burton, he said.

Wiltz and Strickland officials say the change will be seamless for Burleson County residents, who will see no change in the service offered.

In addition to Wiltz, the shareholders in Caldwell and Somerville will remain Donald Lee Strickland, Clarence Gerke and Wayne Giese.

Wiltz said he was honored to join the Strickland team. The Strickland Funeral Homes in Caldwell and Somerville were purchased be Memorial Oaks Chapel, Inc., in Brenham in 1996 and retained the Strickland Funeral Home name.

Strickland said Wiltz was a good choice as a managing director and will help continue Strickland’s mission.

“It will be a good relationship. He was our choice to come here,” Strickland said. Strickland said the company wants to serve as many families in Burleson County as possible, and “we work hard at serving people.” Wiltz understands this and will carry on the mission, he said.


Our Beginings


Strickland’s, formerly Woods Funeral Home in Somerville began its mission in 1894 when Jebb Lee Woods and Mary Jane Sims Woods established their home in Burleson County.

They moved to Somerville when the was no depot, no church, no school, no safe drinking water, no funeral home or funeral director, according to a history prepared by the company.

Woods was a clerk in a grocery store, where the merchant also sold caskets, coffins in those days.

Woods went into the funeral business in 1905 after assisting the other store owners and partners. Lee Woods became the community’s undertaker.

The first funeral parlor was in the main part of Somerville on Seventh Street, near the VFW building, where a few caskets were displayed. There was also a small office and preparation room.

In the early 1920s, Woods purchased a beautiful black, horse drawn hearse with rubber tires, being one of the first in the county. By 1929, he bought a Studebaker combination with a dark grey top and a light grey bod. This combination had a special flower tray inside arched above the casket to carry the flowers with the remains to the cemetery.

Woods passed away in 1932 and turned the business over to his wife, the oldest son Walter Lee Woods and his daughter Ruth Strickland, Mr. Woods and Mrs. Strickland were partners until 1966 when Donald Lee Strickland and Nello Strickland, Jr., bought the shares from Walter woods.

In 1973, the business was incorporated to be known as Strickland Funeral Home, Inc.

Nello Strickland Sr. and Ruth Strickland ran the business for 42 years until the death of Nello Strickland, Sr.

Other family members who have served include Nello Strickland, Jr., president, full-time manager; his wife Dorothy Jane Moerbe Strickland, secretary-treasurer; Don Strickland, vice president and co-owner; and Josephine Denham Strickland, director.

The funeral home continues to serve the county and surrounding counties.

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