I n the early nineteen hundreds, a then young man, Henry Pasco Whidden, began working with the Wirt Furniture Company, supplier of furniture, coffins and funeral supplies for the Bartow & Fort Meade area.
In January of 1925, Pasco, as his friends called him, began one of the first funeral homes in the area by moving his wife, and four children into their new residence and funeral home on Oak Avenue, which is now the present site of the Bartow First Christian Church. In October of 1937, Mr. Whidden and his wife purchased property on Main Street, moving Whidden Funeral Home to its present location.
Mr. Whidden died in 1954, leaving his wife Maude and two sons James and Henry P. Jr. to continue the business. The firm steadily kept pace with the growing community though expansion and improvement of its facilities. With the death of Mrs. Maude Whidden in 1977, the company was reorganized with a new partner, Donald S. McLean, Jr, a Bartow native, funeral director and graduate of Kentucky School of Mortuary Science, who had served in the firm since 1965.
Now well into its eighth decade of service, the fourth generation proudly carries on the tradition of service to the community. Don & Debbie McLean's son, Marc, a Bartow native, funeral director and graduate of Wingate University, joined the firm in 1997. Don's son-in-law, Tim Hardee, a native of Keystone Heights, Florida, funeral director and graduate of Florida Southern College, also joined the firm in 1997.
In 1999, the family purchased the Hancock-McClellan Funeral Home, which is the original site of the Marsh Funeral Home, Fort Meade's first funeral establishment.
The family continues to serve the commuities of Bartow and Fort Meade area with the same integrity and compassion as it has since its inception in 1925.