The Henry J. O'Donnell and Sons Inc. Funeral Home was founded in 1933 by Henry J. O'Donnell Sr. in a store front on Mill Hill in the City of Salem's downtown section. The funeral home also served as a livery business, offering rental automobiles to families for weddings and special trips to Boston.
After World War II, the funeral business moved from a storefront operation into a funeral home, when Henry J. O'Donnell Sr. was joined by his sons Henry Jr. and William. They purchased a home on the Historic Salem Common, at 46 Washington Square, where the present Salem funeral home continues to conduct business. Henry Sr. passed away in 1960 and in 1968, Henry Jr. was joined in business by his son Thomas A. O'Donnell. When Henry Jr. passed away in 1970, Thomas became the owner of the Salem funeral home and refurbished the facility in 1972.
In 2001, the funeral home in Salem was re guiled to it's grandiose nature of an earlier era and currently is one of the finest funeral homes on the North Shore.
The Peterson Funeral Home was established in 1959 by Robert A. Peterson. Mr. Peterson had served his country During World War II and upon his return, began his profession in the funeral business in the former J.S. Waterman Funeral Home of Boston. Robert matriculated to the Town of Danvers having been the manager and lead funeral director at the former Crosby Funeral Home in Danvers. In 1959 Mr. Peterson bought one of the oldest buildings in Danvers, the former family home of the Creese family of Creese and Cook leather company and transformed their family home into his family funeral home. Along with his beloved wife Trudy (Fiske) Peterson, the funeral home flourished and became the most promiant place in to have a funeral service through.
In 1987, Mr. Peterson choose Thomas O'Donnell to pass the legacy of his funeral home on to. Tom had worked closly with Mr. Peterson over the years and it became a very good partnership. At this time the name of the funeral home became the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home. Thomas' son Anthony O'Donnell joined his father in the business, becoming the fourth generation to enter into the family funeral business. With the funeral homes serving the communities of Salem, Danvers, Beverly, Hamilton, Wenham, Topsfield, Boxford and Middleton, the family business has gained a reputation with generations of local families of conducting business with grace and dignity, and providing compassionate and caring services.
The Salem funeral home was redecorated in 2011, and the Danvers funeral home was completely renovated in 2012. Both funeral homes maintain their historical presence and will continue to serve North Shore communities for many decades to come.