The Ridgelawn Cemetery Association was organized on May 5, 1925. The initial purchase was a five acre tract of land off of Pea Ridge Road and was known as the Garvin Estate. This location was a historical site that was once a trading post on the old James Kanawha Turnpike. The purchase also included the Garvin Mansion, which was erected in the early 1830s.
The first officers of the company were Stuart H. Bowman, President; H.M. BonDurant, of Columbus Ohio, an experienced cemetery developer, secretary; and T.E. Agee, of the Bowman Agee Company, a well known real estate appraiser, treasurer. The directors included W.E. Deegans, coal operator; L N. Cook of the Raleigh Wholesale Grocery Company of Beckley; A. B. Farley, merchant of Beckley, J.D. Agee of the Agee Coal Company of Beckley, and a number of other businessmen.
The American Park Builders, one of the largest and most well-known firms engaged in landscape and city planning, was employed as the landscape architect. The initial charter wanted the cemetery to conform to the grounds of the Guyan Country Club, which was located across the street on the Midland Trail.
In the mid-1930s, Ridgelawn Memorial Park was acquired and re-chartered under the name of Woodmere Inc. The corporation was operated by R.M. Bagby, President, and Harry S. Shivel, Vice President. During this period of growth and prosperity, Woodmere Inc. expanded its operations to include Woodmere and Ridgelawn Memorial Park on the Pea Ridge Road and the Huntington Vault Company. In 1953, Harry Shivel became President and Don Shivel as Vice President of the corporation. During Mr. Shivel’s administration, Woodmere Inc. gained a tremendous reputation in the Huntington community. Upon Mr. Shivel’s retirement in 1983, the company was operated by Lucille Shivel, President, and Harry S. Shivel Jr. Vice President.
In 1997, Ridgelawn Memorial Park was purchased from Lucille Shivel by an affiliate of Service Corporation International. In 1999, Ridgelawn joined the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral, cremation, and cemetery providers. Today, Ridgelawn offers a wide array of services and benefits while preserving the goals of its founding fathers.