The Humphrey Story
Julius A. Humphrey (1858-1936)
First Generation President
1879: Julius A. Humphrey Establishes Business
First location of the Humphrey firm: 305 Yonge Street (at Dundas). [Photo circa 1890]
1905: Julius Relocates Business
Firm moves to 463 Church Street (at Maitland). In the following years, Julius' son Albert (Bert) E. Humphrey joins the business; name changes to J.A. Humphrey & Sons. [Photo circa 1920]
Second Generation President: Albert (Bert) E. Humphrey (1891-1935)
1924: Bert becomes second generation president.
Bert Expands Business to Three Additional Locations
Branch 1: First located at Carlton and Church, firm moves to 466 Church Street (at Wood).
Conn Smythe purchases the 466 Church St. location to build Maple Leaf Gardens (which opens in 1931);
Bert moves business to Church and Isabella.
Branch 2: Located in Lansing (now known as Willowdale), at 4661 Yonge Street - just north of Hogg's Hollow by Avondale Avenue. [Pictured at left]
Branch 3: Located at Yonge and Lawrence (named Hudson Parlors).
1929: 2245 Yonge Street (at Eglinton Ave.)
Bert purchases a Henney Packard professional car, which doubles as an ambulance for the Humphrey business' ambulance services.
The Great Depression hits; Bert's three locations merge into one at 2245 Yonge Street; name changes first to Bert Humphrey Funeral Home then to B. Humphrey Funeral Home.
To keep the business open during the depression, Bert's wife Florence sells her father's prized stamp collection along with some personal possessions.
1935: Bert Humphrey Passes Away
Bert passes away on his 44th birthday, leaving Florence to manage the business; Thomas, his son, is too young to obtain his funeral director's license but doubles up on his high school years at Norman Model School (now the location of Ryerson University) to enter the profession quickly. [Bert and a young Thomas photographed together at left circa 1920]
1936: Julius A. Humphrey passes away one year after his son.
Third Generation President: Thomas A. Humphrey (1918-2002)
1939: Thomas completes his training, obtains his license and assumes control of the business, becoming the third generation president.
Thomas reinstates ambulance services, changes the name of the business to Humphrey Funeral Home, and directs York Cemetery's first funeral (Yonge and Sheppard).
Thomas changes the name of the business to Humphrey Funeral Chapel. [Pictured at left: 2245 Yonge Street's new sign]
1950 - 1955
Upstairs at 2245 Yonge, Thomas' wife Lois begins raising their growing family (daughter Denise and twins Bruce and Valerie) while playing records in lieu of live organ music for funeral services occurring on the main floor.
[Pictured at right: Bruce, Lois, Valerie, and Denise Humphrey circa 1951]
1955: Business Moves to Bayview Avenue
The business relocates to 403 Bayview Avenue (the recently built Joseph P. Thompson Funeral Home), and is renamed Humphrey Funeral Home and Chapel.
Florence Humphrey moves into the upstairs apartment soon after relocation.
The address later changes to 1403 Bayview Avenue when the Bayview Extension is added.
1970: Bruce T. Humphrey Joins the Humphrey Firm
Bruce is one of the first graduates of Humber College's Funeral Services Program. After completing one year of apprenticeship at Turner and Porter, Bruce rejoins the Humphrey firm as a full-time licensed funeral director in 1971.
1979: Humphrey Funeral Home and Chapel Celebrates its Centennial Year in Service
1981: Humphrey Funeral Home Acquires A.W. Miles Funeral Directors
Humphrey Funeral Home and Chapel acquires the business of A.W. Miles Funeral Directors after acceding to developers at their 30 St. Clair West location.
The business becomes Humphrey Funeral Home - A.W. Miles Chapel, and J. R. (Rennie) Graham, A.W. Miles President, joins the firm as a Senior Director.
[Pictured at right: Graham A. Stein, Thomas A. Humphrey, J. Rennie Graham, and Bruce T. Humphrey]
1983-1988: A.W. Miles' Days at the Metro Toronto Zoo
In commemoration of A.W. Miles' love of animals and Miles Park, Humphrey Funeral Home sponsors annual A.W. Miles' Days: Seniors Days at the Zoo with complimentary admission and hourly transportation to and from Scarborough Town Centre.
A.W. Miles' Day 1985
Gus Harris, Former Mayor of Scarborough, unveils a commemorative plaque dedicating a children's play area in honour of A.W. Miles Park.
[Pictured at left: Bruce Humphrey, G. Rick Evans, J. Rennie Graham, Paul Sorley and Mayor Gus Harris]
The A.W. Miles Memorial Littlefootland Arena Plaque
First in Ontario to Provide Preparation and Funeral Services For People Who Succumb to AIDS
As AIDS emerges as a major health crisis during the mid-1980s, many funeral homes are reluctant to care for people who succumb to the disease. Despite the stigmatization of people with AIDS and the disease itself, Humphrey Funeral Home - A.W. Miles Chapel, at the direction of Bruce Humphrey, is first in Ontario to provide preparations and services for those lost to AIDS and their families after research confirms there is no cause for employee concern.
Fourth Generation President: Bruce T. Humphrey (1949-)
1990: Bruce T. Humphrey becomes fourth generation president.
1991: Florence Humphrey (Bert's wife) passes away after more than 80 years of involvement with the business, always living above a funeral home.
1993: Bruce Humphrey establishes Basic Funeral Alternatives (now known as A Basic Service), which provides economical and nontraditional arrangements.
1998: Humphrey Miles Woodland
In honour of families served, Humphrey Funeral Home - A.W. Miles Chapel (HFH) begins reforestation project at Bruce's Mill Conservation Area (Humphrey Miles Woodland); dedication service takes place on April 22, and each person in attendance (members of families served by HFH) is given a white pine sapling to plant in their own gardens.
1998: Shave The Wave
Involved with Touchstone Youth Centre (TYC) since 1990, Bruce Humphrey has his head shaved for the "Shave The Wave" campaign in June, and raises over $17,000 for TYC.
2002: Thomas A. Humphrey passes away.
2003: Thomas A. Humphrey Award
In honour of his father Thomas, Bruce Humphrey presents the first annual Thomas A. Humphrey Award of full tuition to a deserving student at Humber College.
2004: 125th Anniversary
Humphrey Funeral Home - A.W. Miles Chapel (HFH) celebrates 125 years of service.
October 2, 2004: HFH commemorates 125th year by unveiling a heritage plaque and time capsule; Torontonians place memory cards in the capsule in recognition of those loved.
[Pictured at right: Bruce Humphrey and attendees sign the ceremony guestbook]
125th Anniversary Time Capsule