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History

A Tradition of Compassion

In 1866 Robert Henderson Kilgore, a 28 year old carpenter of Nickelville, Virginia moved from Pikeville, Kentucky to the bustling riverport town of Catlettsburg. He opened a cabinet and furniture shop on notorious Front Street overlooking the mouth of the Big Sandy River. From time to time Kilgore was asked to fashion coffins for the early residents and in 1868 opened an Undertaking Establishment. His original shop burned in 1875.

Undaunted, Kilgore secured finances and began construction of his new funeral home on Panola Street. Completed in 1888, this home has served the residents of Boyd County for over 140 years and is the county's oldest continuously operated business.

In 1916, Henry W. Collier joined R.H. Kilgore, and the business became the Kilgore & Collier Funeral Home. Mr. Kilgore passed in 1932 followed by Mr.Collier in 1946. By then, the business was operated by Robert Hutchinson, grandson of Mr. Kilgore and Nellie S. Collier, widow of Mr. Collier. Two young funeral directors working under the tutelage of Mr. Hutchinson was Russell Compton and Allan Collier, the son of Henry and Nellie Collier. Russell and Allan were boyhood chums and would become excellent business partners.

In 1958 Mr. Hutchinson, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving Compton and Collier to operate the business. Finding themselves shorthanded, they hired a young man born and raised in the Big Sandy's gate city, Mike Neal. Mike worked with Compton and Collier until 1978, when he opened the Neal Funeral Home on Center Street. After nearly a decade, Mike returned to his roots and purchased the Kilgore & Collier Funeral Home in the fall of 1987. Russell and Allan retired soon after, but to this day remain very active in a multitude of civic projects. Also, in the fall 1987, the second generation Neal entered the business with his father, Mike II.

Mike II and his wife Laura operate both locations today in the tradition handed down for nearly a century and a half, with Mike Sr. at their side. Their goal is to provide personal service with integrity and dignity.