After 50 years of operation in Hartsville, Anthony Funeral Home now has new ownership in place.

Jimmy Anthony, whose father started the business in 1969, told The Vidette he has sold the name and the facility on Highway 25 to Sellars Funeral Home in Lebanon.

In addition to its Lebanon location, Sellars also owns facilities in Mt. Juliet, Gallatin, Lafayette and Hendersonville.

"I'm very proud that Jimmy and Sherry Anthony would be in consideration of our family purchasing their family business," said owner Judd Sellars. "Not a lot of change is coming. It'll be the same kind of service they've had for years."

The sale was completed on Sept. 17 and that was officially Jimmy's last day as well, although he plans to stay involved to some extent.

"I'll still be in an out part time, when I can be found," Anthony joked. "I'm 68, so it's time to look toward the next stage of my life."

Jimmy's daughter, Sherry Anthony-Bennett, will remain at the Hartsville facility as office manager -- a role she has filled since 1997.

"Watching how he deals with people has been a great learning experience," she said.

Jimmy said it was unclear whether Sellars would bring in a full-time mortician or use rotating staff.

"He has help at all places around us that he can float in and out until he finds the right person," Anthony said.

Sellars said, "Absolutely!" when asked if he would keep the Anthony name on the facility.

"The Anthony family has been a staple in this community for many years and also a pillar in the funeral industry in Middle Tennessee," Sellars added. "They are very well respected."

Jimmy's father started Anthony Funeral Home in 1969 after previously working at Alexander Funeral Home in Hartsville for 10 years, according to Jimmy.

"Right about the time I started getting interested, around my senior year of high school, my daddy purchased the funeral home and in 1972 bought the other funeral business in town, the old Throp & Oakley, and combined the two," he said.

Anthony Funeral Home has been at its current location along Highway 25 since 1974, Jimmy said.

"You develop a lot of friendships and the respect of the community is highly valuable," Jimmy said of his years as a local businessman. "I've thanked the Lord that I was able to come back to Hartsville; that there was an opportunity for a country boy."

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