During the summer of 1927, Bertsil D. Edwards (Bert) moved to Dobbs Ferry, NY with his family. He bought the current Ashford Avenue property and went into business as Edwards Funeral Home. By the end of 1927 he had conducted eight funerals and was off to a running start. Early on he realized that the success of his enterprise depended not only on his ability as a funeral director but also his level of community involvement. This marked the beginning of the firm's "Main Street" philosophy that emphasizes personal involvement within the community and the ready accessibility of the owners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bert Edwards served as an elected Trustee of his home town government, a director of the local savings bank, an officer and Sunday school teacher in his church and a scout master of the local scout troop. Bert was active in the firm until his retirement in the mid 1950's.
Orville D. Edwards, (Eddie) joined his father Bert after graduating from St. Lawrence University in 1938. During WWII, Eddie served as a Captain in the Army overseas. At the end of the war he returned to the funeral profession. Eddie continued with the "Main Street" philosophy as an active service club member and church officer. He became president of the firm in 1953. In 1956 he added to the property and enlarged the building. The era of the 1960's was a period when many funeral businesses succumbed to the criticism of Jessica Mitford. Eddie saw this era as a challenge to be answered by working toward demystifying funeral taboos and transforming the funeral home away from the old dark panels and carpets to the current theme of light colors and openness. In 1968, he acquired more property and built the current 100 car parking lot. Eddie lead the firm with excellence until his retirement in 1980.
Joyce R. Edwards, joined her husband Eddie in the firm in 1962 and received her funeral directing license in 1964. Joyce served as both a funeral director and managed the office during her tenure. She retired in 1970. She was known in the community as an active worker and volunteer at church, the Parent Teacher Organization, Girl Scouts, The League of Women Voters and the Hospital Auxiliary until her death in 2000.
Jon D. Edwards, joined his father Orville in 1966 after also graduating from St. Lawrence University. Jon continued the family's "Main Street" activities by serving as a trustee of the local hospital, officer of his church, a member of the advisory board of an area hospice, and director of the local savings and loan association. Early in his career, Jon saw the value of using technology as a way to fine-tune the company's efficiency. Many of the things that we now take for granted such as pagers and two way radio phones were already "on line" at Edwards Funeral Home by the early 70's. The computer age became a reality under Jon's administration in 1984. Jon became president of the firm in 1980 and enlarged the facilities with a new wing and improved traffic pattern in 1985. Under Jon's leadership, the firm grew to serve over 300 families annually while still retaining the personal touch of a family enterprise.
James M. Dowdle, a native of Oswego, NY. joined the firm in 1989. Jim quickly embraced the "Main Street" approach by becoming active in parent activities at his children's school and sport's leagues and also serving as a parish council member at his church. Jim returned to the classroom to learn to speak Korean as part of our firm's outreach to the Korean community and as a result the "Korean Funeral Home, Inc." was founded and co-exists at our facility as it serves the Korean community in the tri-state area. Jim is in charge of our grief and outreach programs and is a current member of the advisory board of an area hospice. During the short period since his 1989 arrival, Jim's ability and aptitude has made him an ideal addition to the ownership team. In 1995 the firm was renamed Edwards and Dowdle Funeral Home, Inc. On February 17, 2000, Jim took over ownership of Edwards and Dowdle Funeral Home and continues in his dual roles of owner and manager of this family focused firm as it enters the new millenium.
A family tradition continues in Dobbs Ferry as Joseph N. Casario is the new proprietor of Edwards Dowdle Funeral Home. Named after his grandfather, Joseph is a third generation funeral director. The original business, Casario Funeral Home, was started in 1935, in the Bronx, NY. It was there that Joe’s grandfather and father, Leandro (Leon) worked together providing services for families in their time of need. That element of sensitive service was ingrained in Joseph at an early age.
In 1971, Leandro built the Lincoln Park Funeral Home on McLean Avenue in Yonkers. Joe worked there while he was in high school and his responsibilities included doorman, pallbearer, and parking attendant. At that same time he worked part time for Jon Edwards, whose family owned the original Edwards Funeral Home. While working alongside Jon Edwards, Joe met Jim Dowdle. The three of them became great friends.
Joe completed his education and became a licensed funeral director in 1991. In 1997 he opened up the Jewish Memorial Chapel in Yonkers along with his sister, Liz (also a licensed funeral director) and his father, Leon, until the elder Casario passed away in 2009. In 2010, Joe sold the building on McLean Avenue, relocated Lincoln Park Funeral Home and Jewish Memorial Chapel and remained in the funeral business.
Being a good friend of Jim Dowdle, Joe eventually acquired Edwards- Dowdle Funeral Home in June of 2016. As Joe would say, "It was meant to be." Jim Dowdle is currently an important component and consultant in the continued success of the firm.
As a member of the Rivertowns community he resides in Ardsley with his wife Carolyn and his children Christopher and Victoria who both attend Ardsley High School.