P arker-Rhoden Funeral Home is the oldest family owned funeral home in Walterboro and Colleton County. The original business, known simply as Walterboro Funeral Parlors, was located on Washington Street directly across from the present day city waterfall. Established by Mr. G.C. Brown and Mr. W.L. Easterlin, the location is easily discernable now by the lone section of wooden storefront, along what is presently a totally brick and glass downtown main street. In fact, the furniture store owned by Mr. Easterlin, which was a common joint venture for many funeral directors of the day, was located on the exact spot of the current city waterfall, across from his funeral home. The community was served for many years from this location.
D. Fred Parker, a native of Crocketville, began his funeral service career under the direction of Mr. Eugene Peeples at Peeples Funeral Service in Hampton, SC. He graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, relocated with his wife Mary to Walterboro, and began working for what had then become Walterboro Funeral Home. After many years of service, several physical relocations, and a desire to gain ownership from Mr. Brown and Mr. Easterlin, the business eventually changed hands.
Mr. Parker broke ground in 1948 on a new facility, and opened the doors of the Fred Parker Funeral Home in 1949. The state-of-the art building, designed by John Truluck, was a true gem for the community, and its value was immediately realized. With ample parking, a full chapel, and several visitation rooms, it was obvious that it would serve the needs of the community for many years to come. Mr. Parker operated the funeral home with the aid of his wife Mary, and his son Fred E. Parker, also a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Mr. Parker also continued the operation of the first ambulance service in the county. Through honest and compassionate service, and with the assistance of his family, and the devotion of employees such as Billy Guilford, Fletcher Hutto, and Rosalyn White, the business continued to thrive.