Many people put a great deal of time and effort into tracing their family history. What we know of our roots tells us something about ourselves. Who we are has much to do with those who came before us.

Brenham Memorial Chapel, like many families we serve today, has roots reaching far back into Brenham’s history. In fact, we have the longest history of funeral service in Brenham, dating back to the early 1900s.

Life was much different when Charles Simank provided funeral service in downtown Brenham. In those days, wakes and funerals were sometimes held at the home of the deceased, and horses and carriages were the regular conveyances between home, funeral home, and cemetery. Within a decade or two, funeral homes became more important to those who had lost family members. The facilities that had once been furniture stores, where coffins were constructed, and the livery stables, which supplied the horses for transportation, gave way to a specialized establishment called a “funeral home.”

500 South Austin Street 500 South Austin Street Leon Simank Funeral Home
500 South Austin Street

Leon E. Simank, son of Charles Simank, joined his father in funeral service in 1918. Leon built Leon Simank Funeral Home in 1929 at 500 South Austin Street.

In 1956 the independent funeral directors, Edward T. Gall, Leon E. Simank, and William H. Buske, of Mercer Buske Funeral Home, established Brenham Memorial Chapel. A new building was erected at 509 South Baylor Street, which had been the site of Giddings Memorial Church, a building used for worship until 1939. The Brenham Memorial Chapel partners were soon joined by Leon’s brother, Burney Simank. Elton Anderson, Jr. joined the funeral home in 1970.

509 South Baylor Street Brenham Memorial Chapel
509 South Baylor Street
Now home of American Red Cross

In 1977 Brenham Memorial Chapel was acquired by the Anderson family: Elton B. Anderson Sr. and Agnes “Andy” Anderson. Leon and Burney Simank, Edward and Annie Gall, and Bill Buske continued to work with the Andersons for the rest of their careers.

Brenham Memorial Chapel funeral home continued its tradition as a family business, with the addition of Karen Anderson upon her graduation from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service and her licensing as a funeral director in 2000.

While the Baylor Street location had served well for many years, the growth of the Brenham community created the need for a larger, more modern facility. A beautiful hilltop location, at the corner of Stringer Street and Becker Drive, was the obvious choice for a new funeral home with spacious, modern facilities and ample parking.

On April 30, 2000, Brenham Memorial Chapel’s new home was dedicated. Thus the funeral service with the longest tradition and the oldest roots became the newest funeral home serving the Brenham area.

Brenham Memorial Chapel Present Location Brenham Memorial Chapel
2300 Stringer Street
Present Location

Buildings and locations have changed, but our tradition of dedicated funeral service to families remains constant and unchanging through our 61 years as Brenham Memorial Chapel.