History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
1837 - Founded The Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Inc. at 6500 York Road in Rodgers Forge traces it's history back to 1837 when John Hughes by name, started a cabinetmaking business at 170 South Bond Street, just east of the inner harbor in downtown Baltimore City. This 1837 starting date makes the firm one of the oldest in Maryland and also in the United States. In 1860, John Hughes added Undertaker to his Cabinetmaker business name, changed the firm name to John Hughes and Sons and moved the business to 65 South Broadway, a few blocks from Bond Street. In 1874, John's son, William H. Hughes, had come into the business and a son-in-law, Francis M. Denny, had also joined the firm, which now would go by the name of Hughes & Denny. In 1876, a second location was added at 550 W. Fayette Street, just west of center city and a second son-in-law, E. Madison Mitchell, came into the business. Another branch office was opened in 1881 at 1201 W. Fayette St. in west Baltimore. The name of the business changed in 1885 to Denny & Mitchell as the Hughes name was dropped and the two principals were now Francis M. Denny and E. Madison Mitchell. Francis Denny died in 1895 and the firm name became simply the E. Madison Mitchell Funeral Home. His nephew, John O. Mitchell, Sr. joined the firm in the early 1900's and took over as President in 1916 when E. Madison died. In 1924, the firm name was changed to John O. Mitchell & Sons as John Sr.'s two sons, John O. Jr. and Mahlon B. graduated from high school and joined their father in the business. A year later, the business would move to 1900 Eutaw Place at Robert Street where it would remain until 1965. The company was incorporated in 1932 and to this day holds only one of fifty-nine corporate funeral charters in existence in the State of Maryland. John O. Mitchell, Jr. took over as company President in 1950 when his father died, and the title was passed to John O. Mitchell, III in 1959 when his father (John, Jr.) died.
1914 - Historic Event One of the historic highlights of the early Mitchell funeral business, occurred in 1914, when the company officiated at what is said to have been the first engine driven automobile funeral ever held in the United States and probably the world. The funeral consisted of four Cadillac limousines and one Cadillac hearse, the bodies of all five vehicles were made to order for the Mitchell firm by local wagon builders. All funeral vehicles were horse drawn prior to this.
1965 - Rodgers Forge In July of 1965, 1900 Eutaw Place was sold and a totally new funeral home was erected at 6500 York Road (at Overbrook Road) in Rodgers Forge, just north of the city/county line in Baltimore County. At the same time, the firm merged with long time funeral home owner J. Liston Wiedefeld, who at that time was selling his funeral home located at Greenmount Ave. and 22nd Street in Baltimore City. With the formation of the new partnership and new location opening in July of 1965, the firm was renamed to John O. Mitchell & Sons-Wiedefeld Home, Inc.
1972 - Timonium A branch operation was established in 1972 with long time funeral director J. E. Lowell Lemmon, a nephew to J. Liston Wiedefeld, and a funeral home was erected at 10 West Padonia Road and York Road in Timonium. This operation would be known as The Dulaney Valley Home of Lemmon-Mitchell-Wiedefeld, Inc. Following the death of Mr. Lemmon in 1989, the Mitchell Family sold their interest in the firm to Mr. Lemmon's widow, Joyce and son Lowell, Jr. in 1994. Today, that funeral home is owned by the national funeral conglomerate, Service Corporation International of Houston, Texas.
Independent & Family Owned The Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Inc. remains today in Rodgers Forge at 6500 York Road in Towson (at Overbrook Road) with John O. Mitchell, IV as President and John O. Mitchell, III as Chairman. The Mitchell funeral business has remained truly an independent and family owned operation. John III's daughter, Josette, has been office manager since 1991. Over the past ten to fifteen years, there has been an alarming trend toward national, publicly traded corporations, acquiring local family owned funeral homes. We have rebuked all overtures from that direction in order to remain an independent, family owned business.
2007 - Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens In the most recent and exciting news, The Mitchell Family has recently purchased the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum in Timonium from the John Armiger Family. This too, was a family owned business, started in 1958 by John Armiger, Sr. and continued by his son, John Jr. until the transfer of ownership to the Mitchells in July of 2007.
The Mitchell Family has every intention of continuing both operations as independent and family owned businesses.
Our Valued Staff
John O. Mitchell IV, CFSP
Jack has been working for his family's business since 1993. He became licensed as a Maryland mortician in 1995. Jack graduated from McDonogh school in 1989 and served as President of it's Alumni Association for the 2007-2008 term. He graduated from Lehigh University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, and from Catonsville Community College in 1995 with an Associate in Arts degree in Mortuary Science. Jack has been very active with the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association, serving as it's President for the term 2005-2006, and also serves on several committees of the National Funeral Directors Association. Jack was born and raised in the Towson area and currently resides in Lutherville.
Dennis S. Xenakis
Dennis has been working for Mitchell-Wiedefeld since 1973 and has been Managing Director since 1994. He attended Boys' Latin School, Loyola College of MD and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, and attained his State of Maryland Mortician's License in 1977. Dennis is an active member of the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association, serving on it's Political Action and Long Term Planning Committees. He is also a member of the Boys' Latin School Alumni Association and the McDonogh School Patrons Association, where he is involved with the Annual Giving and Capitol Campaigns. Denny and his wife, Clare, live just on the county side of the city line in Rodgers Forge with their daughters Pamela and Caitlin.
George J. Ferrarse
George was born and raised in Overlea and is a 1976 graduate of John Carroll High School. He started serving his apprenticeship with Mitchell-Wiedefeld in 1976. George graduated from the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science in March of 1980 and became a licensed mortician in Maryland the following month. He currently resides in Nottingham, MD.
Martin D. Lawson
Mr. Lawson served his funeral service apprenticeship with John J. Duda Funeral Home in Dundalk. In July, 1968 he affiliated with the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Inc. He attended Towson State College and graduated in 1970 from the cooperative program of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Epsilon honorary fraternity. He has served several terms on the board of directors of the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association, Inc., as Treasurer of the Coachford Home Owners Association in Timonium, MD and the Cockeysville-Timonium Lions Club. He was affiliated with Lemmon-Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Inc. in Timonium for 18 years and returned to Mitchell-Wiedefeld in Rodgers Forge in 1994, where he continues to serve families as primary prearrangement director. He resides in Loveton Farms, Sparks, MD.