Boyd’s Funeral Home

Boyd’s Funeral Home Records (MS 3531) and E. F. Boyd and Son Funeral Home Records, 1906-1950 (MS 4908)

E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home, founded by Elmer Franklin Boyd (1878-1944) in 1905, is one of the oldest African American funeral homes in Cleveland, Ohio. Boyd learned the embalming trade at Clark’s College of Embalming in Cincinnati and Meyer’s Embalming School in Springfield. The business was initially located at 2604 East Central Avenue. The following year he took in a partner, Lewis J. Dean, but Dean left the business in 1911. The funeral home moved to 2276 E. 43rd in 1919, and to 2165 E. 89th St. in 1938. Elmer F. Boyd was also the founder of the Cleveland Funeral Directors Association, and was a leader in community affairs. Boyd’s son, William F. Boyd (b.1915) joined the business in 1938, and that year the name of the funeral home changed to E. F Boyd & Son and the business moved to East 89th Street. After E. F. Boyd died in 1944, William F. Boyd headed the company, and subsequently expanded its operations. A branch location opened in 1972 at 15357 Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. William F. Body headed the company until 1991, when his son William F. Boyd, II (b. 1941) took over, along with his siblings, the family business. A third funeral home located on 25900 Emery Rd., Warrensville Heights, opened in 1996. By 2004, this family-run business had nearly 30 full-time employees (including the fourth generation of Boyds) with its main branch remaining at the East 89th location. Many of the most prominent citizens, white and black, as well as an economic cross section of Cleveland’s black community were buried by Boyd Funeral Home.

This collection provides the genealogical researcher with valuable information, particularly those interested in African American family history in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1906-1950.

The manuscript collections themselves provide the researcher with information in addition to that listed in this index, including address of the deceased, cause of death, next of kin, and other information.

More detailed information, as described above, is provided in the WRHS Research Center Reading Room. Manuscript 3531 Boyd’s Funeral Home Records and Manuscript 4909 E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home Records contain other documents and files in addition to the record books. See the finding aids for these collections for more information about these collections and what they contain.

Researchers can access and make copies from the collection at the Western Reserve Historical Society Research Center Reading Room. Reference staff can provide copies for researchers unable to schedule a visit to the Western Reserve Historical Society. For information about the WRHS Research Center location, hours, admission fees, and research fees, contact the reference staff at 216-721-5722, x1509, or via email at