Although the company dates back to 1915 in downtown Johnson City, the history of the Morris-Baker Funeral Home is the history of former President and Funeral Director Carson B. Baker, Jr., and his family. For three generations spanning nearly 50 years now, the Baker family has served the community of Johnson City and Washington County with caring, respect and the highest standards of service. It’s a promise that began with Carson and continues today under the leadership of his grandson, President and Funeral Director Preston McKee.
“Out there” on Oakland
A Johnson City native, Carson left home to fight WWII and returned a highly decorated veteran. After attending mortuary school on the GI Bill, he worked at a local funeral home and eventually acquired Morris Funeral Home in 1966. Carson then decided to purchase some farmland in north Johnson City and build a new facility. At the time, Oakland Avenue was truly off the beaten path—but Carson knew the funeral home’s close proximity to the cemetery would prove convenient for families. And as the Johnson City community expanded north, Morris-Baker Funeral Home grew with it.
Changing times, steadfast values
Once customary to hold church funerals during the day, changing times created the need for evening funerals and multiple services at the funeral home. To accommodate, Carson made small additions to the funeral home in the 1980s and then expanded it substantially in 1992. Along with new embalming facilities, these enhancements included a second entrance, handicapped-accessible restrooms, a family room and a second chapel. Then, as now, families know they can count on Morris-Baker to change with the times—without changing core values.
A family transition – from Baker to McKee
With Carson’s daughter Harriet already an integral part of the family business, Carson hoped that he would someday be able to transition the business to Harriet’s son, Preston. Grandfather and grandson had always been close, and Preston dreamed of working with his grandfather ever since Preston was little. By the end of high school, Preston was certain he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and he came home after college to do just that. For 15 years, Preston worked by his grandfather’s side until Carson’s passing in June of 2010. Like his grandfather, Preston has expanded Morris-Baker’s services and offerings to meet the needs of the community—such as establishing a cremation facility—while maintaining the principles that make Morris-Baker the most trusted funeral home in Johnson City.