The cemetery was constructed on a parcel of land that had originally been the Snee Family Farm where to this day, the old dairy barn and farm house are still maintained.
Jefferson Memorial Park was incorporated by Harry C. Neel
The cemetery’s first mausoleum was designed
The Thomas Jefferson Garden Mausoleum was constructed using 6, 30 foot, 30 ton granite pillars. These historic columns were salvaged from the original Bank of Pittsburgh founded in 1810.
On September 1, 1993 Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home opened its doors and today has grown to become one of the largest funeral homes in Pennsylvania.
John. D. Neel establishes the Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home
The cemetery builds its own crematory
Jefferson Memorial designed and built a state of the art crematory on cemetery grounds that has its own visitation room and witnessing area for families.
Jefferson Memorial’s 4th generation joins President and CEO Harry Neel. Daughter Dagny Neel Fitzpatrick is now Vice President in charge of Family Services. Daughter Whitney R. Neel joined the Funeral Home team and will become the family’s 1st Funeral Director upon completion of her degree in 2016.
The next generation continues the tradition
Jefferson Memorial Park was founded by Harry C. Neel in 1929 and passed down to his only son, John D. Neel, who is credited with the growth and innovation that has made Jefferson Memorial what it is today. John’s eldest son, also Harry C. Neel, currently runs the business as President and CEO. Harry’s oldest daughter, Dagny V.N. Fitzpatrick, joined the sales department of Jefferson Memorial and is now Vice President in charge of Family Services. Harry’s second daughter, Whitney R. Neel, joined the Funeral Home team in 2013 and will become the family’s 1st Funeral Director upon completion her mortuary degree in December 2016.
The cemetery was incorporated in 1929 and constructed on a parcel of land that had originally been the Snee Family Farm where to this day, the old dairy barn and farm house are still maintained. Occasionally, Mr. Neel would barter for graves for grading or construction with local family businesses. Mr. Neel named his new cemetery, Jefferson Memorial Park. At that time the land was located in Jefferson Township but more importantly, it was named after our forefather, Thomas Jefferson, whom he greatly admired. As a salute to our nation, a 10’ statue of Jefferson resides in the center of the Thomas Jefferson Garden Mausoleum.
The once humble parcel of rolling hills and farm land is still home to green knolls and acres of shaded lawns - as well as over 30 species of native plant life distinctive to Western Pennsylvania- but also numerous, evocative structural pieces. Throughout the cemetery’s 45 gardens one will find distinguished bronze memorials, ornate stained glass dedications and colored tableaus of granite and marble. A Visitor’s Guide was developed to assist in locating Jefferson’s many historical pieces including: the Serpentine’s Walls - replicas of the walls Jefferson himself designed for the University of Virginia - the great Thomas Jefferson Mausoleum, whose 6, 30 foot, 30 ton granite pillars were salvaged from the old Bank of Pittsburgh founded in 1810, 5 original Roman Vases spread throughout the cemetery from the City of Pompeii and 1 set of stairs from the estate of Pittsburgh Industrialist, Henry Oliver.
Unlike many cemeteries and funeral home’s today, Jefferson Memorial is still owned and operated as a 4th generation family enterprise and is proudly one of the largest, most beautiful privately owned cemeteries in the United States. Harry C. Neel, our founder, envisioned and designed Jefferson to be a Memorial Park, with no tombstones to mar the beauty of the sweeping lawns.
It has always been the vision of the late John D. Neel to build a Funeral Home on the grounds of Jefferson Memorial Park. That desire was fulfilled on September 1, 1993 when Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home opened its doors. Today, our funeral home has grown to be one of the largest funeral homes in Pennsylvania. The convenience of having both funeral home and cemetery facilities in one location has been paramount to the growth of Jefferson.
There is a unique story behind the naming of our funeral home. When purchasing our corporate funeral license from Philadelphia, the company was stone-walled by an antiquated Pennsylvania law that stated a funeral home, once established, can only change its name to that of a licensed funeral director who is also a stockholder. Knowing that public acceptance was paramount, our funeral home supervisor legally changed her last name to “Jefferson” and as Paul Harvey would say, “that’s the rest of the story.”