Our History


Our History

The Becker Funeral Homes were founded in 1896 when Dan Davidson and Jesse Cunningham, opened the Cunningham-Davidson Funeral Home in Lowellville, Ohio. The business was operated from a storefront on Water Street, which was not unusual in those days as embalming and visitations were in the home of the deceased, with the funeral usually conducted in church. In 1903, they added a full line of furniture to the Water Street business which remained when the funeral home was moved.

At the turn of the century, Dan Davidson’s wife, Tressa Book, died. Tressa’s sister's husband, Frank Becker died in an industrial accident. Dan Davidson and Minnie Book Becker later married and raised Minnie’s two children Hazen and Rachel Becker.

In 1907, Cunningham and Davidson opened a funeral home and livery firm on Bridge Street in Struthers. Later, Jesse assumed ownership of the Lowellville firm and Davidson remained in Struthers.

In 1913, The Davidson’s opened the D.A. Davidson Funeral Home Office and livery business in the home and barn at the corner of Poland Avenue and Spring Street in Struthers.

Davidson's stepson, Hazen L Becker had graduated from Struthers Schools, Hall’s Business College and the Cleveland Mortuary College. He married the former Florence Kashner. He served in WW I in the US Army as a sergeant with Base Hospital 31 of Youngstown in France. Upon his return from the war, Hazen re-entered funeral service with Dan Davidson. His sister, Rachel Becker, taught school at Adams in Youngstown and at Struthers.

In the early teens the funeral home changed from horse drawn coaches to the first automobiles to be used in funeral service in the area.

In 1925, they removed the barn and constructed the first free standing building used exclusively as a Funeral Home in that section of Ohio. The buildings many "firsts" included a dedicated embalming room, an electric generator and air conditioning and a garage large enough for visitors to drive in, unload the passengers and return outside. It's interesting to note the original air-conditioner, located in the basement, was a powerful fan blowing air over a pan with blocks of ice then through pipes into outlets in the floor of the two rooms of the funeral home. A Hillgreen-Lane, church type, pipe organ was another first. As a tribute to their foresight and innovation, the building, though much modified and enlarged, is still in use today, being the foundation of our modern Davidson-Becker Funeral Home in Struthers.

Upon the death of Dan Davidson in 1939, Rachel left teaching to assist Hazen in the operation of the funeral home.

Hazen Becker's son, Dan, a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) served in the US Army as a paratrooper sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division, and upon his return in 1961 entered the Davidson firm. In 1962, the D.A. Davidson name was changed to Davidson-Becker.

Hazen Becker, leaving a legacy of professional funeral service, died in 1983.

Along with his duties at the funeral home, Dan Becker founded additional businesses including Gold Cross Ambulance, Gold Cross Medical Service and Gold Cross Limousine and Livery Service in 1967. He founded Western Reserve Cremation Service in 1985 and Angel's Rest Pet Cremation Service in 1996. The ambulance and home medical equipment business had expanded to other areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania and the home medical division opened in Key West, Florida in 1982. In 1995, the ambulance division was sold to the Rural Metro Corporation. In 1998, Dan and his daughter, Kandace Becker-Hagendorn, sold the home medical business. The funeral, cremation and limousine and livery businesses continue to serve the community and other funeral homes.

Kelly Becker, CFSP, daughter of Dan and Margaret, began working at Gold Cross Ambulance in 1979 and transferred into the Funeral Home in 1986. She received a degree from Youngstown State University and graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. She became manager of the funeral home in 1993.

After a brief partnership in 1989, Becker Funeral Homes acquired total ownership of the Cunningham Funeral Homes in 1995. As stated earlier, Jesse Cunningham was a founding partner with Dan Davidson in 1896 and retained the Lowellville business after they separated the businesses in 1907. The Cunningham's also remained family owned, with the operation passing to Jesse's son, Arthur, then Arthur's sons, George and Ralph, and to Ralph’s widow, Charlotte, their daughter, Kathy, and Kathy’s husband, Paul Yeloushan. The Lowellville funeral home had been moved from Water Street, which continued to house the furniture store, first to a house on Walnut Street, then later to its present location on McGill Street. In 1963, the Cunningham's purchased the Dr. Lupsey home on Main Street in Poland, Ohio and remodeled it into a funeral home.

After the Becker's re-entered the firm, both the Lowellville and Poland facilities were greatly expanded, remodeled and redecorated. They were renamed Cunningham-Becker Funeral Homes with the Struthers facility retaining the name Davidson-Becker.

In 2010 Becker Funeral Homes acquired total ownership of the Davis Funeral Home, located at 4996 Market Street in Boardman, and it was renamed Davis-Becker. The Davis Funeral home was founded by Alfred Davis Sr., and Paul Velker in 1955. In 1980, Alfred (Fred) Davis Jr., joined the firm and has remained active as a funeral director along with his wife Buffy at the Boardman Funeral Home.  At the time of the purchase the plans were to remodel the existing funeral home, but later, the decision was made, with much consideration, to start from scratch and build a new funeral home, a long-time dream of Dan Becker,  at 8536 Market Street. The new funeral home is 12,000 square feet and includes four visitations rooms, a chapel, arrangement/selection room, children's play area, coffee room and state of the art audio/video equipment. The Boardman project also included moving a monument store, flower shop and dining facility into the plaza adjacent to new funeral home.       

In 1999, Kelly Becker, CFSP, became president and is now the fourth generation to lead this independent funeral home entering the second century of operation. Dan Becker, CFSP, is CEO.

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