Serving With Dignity &
Consideration Since 1856
In 1856, Mr. A. Barr established an undertaking firm in
Columbia, TN. A partnership was later formed with Mr. John Oakes, a
member of the firm and well-known citizen of Columbia. At the time
of Mr. Barr's retirement he had been in business continuously for
fifty years, with the exception of three years he served in the
Confederate Army during the Civil War. He also served as one of the
first Presidents of the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association in
1888 - 1889 and is the only Columbian, other than Frank F. Sowell,
to serve in that capacity.
South Garden Street
(Pictured left to right)
S.A. Patton, Charles A. Padgett, Frank F. Sowell, Edward R.
In October of 1900, Mr. Oakes formed a partnership with Mr.
Robert Nichols, an experienced undertaker. The firm was first
located on South Garden Street in 1883, where it operated until
1950 when the property and home of U. S. Senator Edward Ward
Carmack on West Seventh Street was acquired by the firm. The
establishment, like most early firms, was operated in conjunction
with a livery stable and was widely known for the finest in
equipment and quality of services and merchandise. Messrs. Barr,
Oakes and Nichols were early students of embalming and through
experience and training offered to the community the best in
professional services. The firm was the first in the area to offer
motor-driven funeral coaches and ambulances and air-conditioning of
West Seventh Street
The property acquired in 1949 from the Estate of
Senator Edward Carmack
After extensive renovations and additions
Oakes & Nichols began operations at this location in 1950
Tony & Bunny Sowell (c. 1953)
In the tradition of their father began association
with Oakes & Nichols at a young age.
In 1948, Frank F. Sowell and Robert F. Young engaged in a
partnership with Charles E. Padgett and purchased the business in
1961. Frank Sowell became the sole proprietor in 1967, and in 1971
a corporation was formed by the Sowell Family. In the 1980's, two
of the Sowell children, Tony and Bunny, purchased the corporation.
Since Frank Sowell's death in 1997 they, and an experienced and
dedicated staff, have continued operation of the business
establishment. Oakes & Nichols has remained independently-owned
and operated for one hundred and fifty years.
Oakes & Nichols personnel have participated in the
activities of funeral service associations at all levels. Frank
Sowell served as President of the Tennesssee Funeral Directors
Asssociation and as District Governor of the National Funeral
Directors Association. Tony Sowell has served on several committees
of the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association. Bunny Sowell served
a term as a member of the Tennessee State Regulatory Board of
Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Staff members attend numerous
seminars and meetings for the purpose of continuing education. The
firm holds memberships in the Tennessee Funeral Directors
Association, National Funeral Directors Association, Selected
Independent Funeral Homes, by invitation, Associated Funeral
Directors Service and Federated Funeral Directors.
For at-need and pre-planning. We have a wide range of merchandise
on-site. Technology allows consideration of availability of any
product or service desired.
|Traditional Meeting Technology
Our firm was the first in the area to introduce the innovation of
Video Tributes and the only firm in the area which currently
webcasts services conducted in our location and/or elsewhere.
Community events can also be recorded and made available to the
public for viewing through our website.