Greenlawn Cemetery was developed by Charles E. Smith, a businessman who in 1898 started Crowell-Gifford Furniture store, the first store of its kind to sell hardware and caskets in Port Arthur. Named after Crowell, an investor and Gifford, his mother’s maiden name, Smith expanded his business and purchased a 100-acre farm to develop a cemetery.
In 1889 Smith became the second mayor of Port Arthur. In 1901 Smith sold the business to his cousin, Nick Gifford, who then expanded the business to include a mortuary. Gifford recruited his brother, Gene to join the business in 1907.
In 1918 Nick Gifford died leaving his brother Gene to run the furniture and cemetery business. In 1938 Gene sold the mortuary business to Joe Grammier to concentrate on the furniture and cemetery portions of the business. In 1945, Gifford asked his son-in-law Mack Alden Pond to help manage the furniture store, as well as the cemetery, with a vision of making Greenlawn the most beautiful and modern perpetual care cemetery in Texas.
In 1948 Gifford installed underground drainage and paved roads which made it the first of its kind in the state. Gifford passed away in 1965 leaving the family business to his son-in-law who ran the property until 1976. Paul G. Pond, the son, took over as President of Greenlawn Memorial Park until it was sold to an affiliate of Service Corporation International in 1998.
Today, Greenlawn is the largest Perpetual Care cemetery in Southeast Texas. With its deep-rooted history, Greenlawn has approximately 90,000 burials located on its 86 developed acres.