Our story begins in 1962 as one family owned and operated funeral home in Houston, Texas. Through the visionary leadership of our Founder and Chairman Emeritus Robert L. Waltrip, we are now North America’s largest provider of funeral, cemetery and cremation services. Throughout our history, we’ve always operated with one guiding purpose--to provide compassionate care to families at difficult times.
Mr. Waltrip envisioned a business with streamlined operations and reduced overhead, increasing the quality of service to families. After the plan proved effective in Houston in the early 1960s, Mr. Waltrip and a small group of associates set out to apply this strategy through acquisitions in other markets. This began a decades-long expansion to create a network of more than 1,900 funeral home, cemetery and crematory locations across North America.
In 2000, we reassessed our long-term strategy and streamlined our operations and organizational structure to lower expenses, reduce debt and increase cash flow. Over the next several years we acquired Alderwoods Group, Keystone North America, The Neptune Society, Inc., and Stewart Enterprises, Inc., expanding our geographic footprint to 44 states, the District of Columbia and eight Canadian provinces.
As a company with solid financials, exclusive products and customer benefits, as well as “best in class” policies, training and professional standards, we are uniquely positioned to provide compassionate care and Service Excellence to families across North America for generations to come.
Robert Lynn Waltrip
Founder & Chairman Emeritus
January 10, 1931 – February 27, 2023
“So I believe trying to do the right thing every time is very, very important.
I think that’s important in life.” – R. L. Waltrip
Robert L. Waltrip was not just the founder of our Company, but also a visionary leader who laid the foundation for our success. He started SCI in 1962 and served as Chairman of the Board for 53 years. Through his determination, dedication and leadership, SCI has grown into the successful organization it is today.
A third-generation licensed funeral director, Mr. Waltrip was an entrepreneur, a rancher, and a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Born on January 10, 1931, Mr. Waltrip grew up in the family’s funeral business. His father owned Heights Funeral Home in Houston, TX, and Mr. Waltrip often rode along in the lead car during funeral processions.
Mr. Waltrip graduated from Reagan High School in 1949, where he played on the school’s football team. He then attended Rice University and the University of Houston, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953. During his college years, he met Claire Holly, the woman who would become his beloved wife of 66 years.
As we celebrate the life of our founder, let us remember Mr. Waltrip for his immense contributions to our Company, our profession and the Houston community. His generous philanthropic contributions helped improve the lives of many individuals and families in Houston and beyond.
Mr. Waltrip was the driving force and founder of the Lone Star Flight Museum and the National Museum of Funeral History. In 2020, Mr. Waltrip’s generosity was exemplified by his gift to Rice University, which helped fund the construction of the Robert L. Waltrip Indoor Training Center, a state-of-the-art space for varsity athletics training and campus recreation.
Mr. Waltrip’s vision and values continue to guide our Company today, and we are grateful for the foundation he laid.