Mayhew: ‘I have had my foot in many things’
Published 11:14 am Friday, August 23, 2013
EDWARDSBURG — Paul E. Mayhew is more than a funeral director here.
He is a member of the community and someone who always has its bests interests at heart.
Mayhew is not a native of Edwardsburg, or even Michigan. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and came to Michigan when he decided to attend Andrews University in Berrien Springs.
In the summer of 1951, Mayhew took a job as an orderly at Pawating Hospital.
Later in the summer he was offered a room, which would save him $10 a week, at Pifer Funeral Home (now Brown).
He eventually quit his job at the hospital to become a full-time worker at the funeral home.
“I found my niche,” Mayhew said.
Back then, funeral homes also served as the ambulance service in smaller communities, so Mayhew helped out with that as well.
In 1958, a house in Edwardsburg came up for sale and he thought it might be a good place to open up a funeral home. Edwardsburg had been without once since the 1920s.
“I talked it over with Mr. Pifer and with his help we bought it in July of 1958,” Mayhew said. “So we opened Pifer-Mayhew Funeral Home. We got a lot of support, especially from the business community right away.”
In 1963, Mayhew purchased the funeral home from Pifer.
Over the years, Mayhew says “I have had my foot in many things.”
He has worked with the Edwardsburg Fire Department and Ambulance Service, being made an honorary fireman in 1959.
He has answered both fire and police calls at the funeral home and logged the calls.
His business has loaned out folding chairs and card tables and served as a rental facility for health care equipment.
“We did that partly out of survival, but it was also for the betterment of the community,” Mayhew said.
For a time he also operated the funeral home in Berrien Springs after the death of funeral director Kenneth Allred.
He has also been a member of the Chamber of Commerce that helped purchase land where the industrial park sits. He has been a member of the Lions Club and is still a member of the American Legion.
He never thought about moving away from Edwardsburg mainly because of the support he and his family received through the years. “I can’t express how wonderful the community has been to us,” Mayhew said. “We never expected to get all the deaths here. No funeral home does. We got our share. We still do. I’m happy. I’m content.”
Mayhew still lives above the funeral home and has found memories of raising his two daughters there.
“Many kids played in this building when we were busy,” he said. “There were many a blanket tent set up in the rooms with a chair background. The kids playing on rainy days. I didn’t tolerate hollering. Parents knew if their kids were here they were safe.”
Paul E. Mayhew Funeral Home is located at 26863 Main St. You can reach him at 663-5345.