On July 1, 1928, Bob and his son-in-law, Glenn A. Blue, bought the undertaking department of the Hardcastle and Kenyon Furniture Company, which was said to be the oldest undertaking firm in the United States in one location under continuous management, and opened the Roberts-Blue Undertaking Company at 610 Merchant Street.
Due to the business growing, and for need for more space and parking area, the business was moved to 605 State Street in 1938, which is the present location. Glenn and Lela Roberts Blue purchased the interest of Bob Roberts upon his retirement. On January 1, 1948, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Barnett of Baldwin, Kansas, purchased the funeral business. Their son, James Barnett, became part owner and this family operated the funeral home about thirty years. During the years, the funeral home experienced new growth by acquiring the V.C. Eccleston Undertaking Company, which had served the area’s Catholic Community for many years at Seventh and Merchant Streets. In the mid 1970’s, the firm purchased the Robinson Livery Equipment Company, which had also been an old Emporia company. During the years that the funeral home was run by the Barnetts, it was invited to join the International Order of the Golden Rule. The firm also maintains membership in the KFDA and NFDA, as well as the Emporia Chamber of Commerce and many civic and fraternal groups.
In May of 1977, Mike Turnbull purchased the Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home from the Barnett family. Since he purchased the firm, Mike has made many improvements in the facilities. Mike attended Emporia State for three years, and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science in the class of 1972. He was associated with the Barnetts from 1972 until the purchase of the firm in 1977.
The staff at Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home has continually strived to provide a service honoring tradition and offering the trust our area families deserve during their time of need. Throughout the firm’s history, ownership and the firm’s licensed personnel has come from the local or surrounding area of Emporia, Kansas.