Hardesty Funeral Home began in the winter of 1911. Thomas A. Hardesty, known to his family as “Papa,” was a blacksmith in Galesville, Maryland, a small waterfront community in southern Anne Arundel County.
A group of gypsies traveling across the West River suffered the death of one of their children. Having no established funeral home or undertaker in the area, they came to Mr. Hardesty’s shop with a piece of string equaling the height of the child. They asked him if he would build them a casket and he accepted, using the string as a guide for measurement.
As more and more people requested similar services the blacksmith practice eventually gave way to a full-time funeral home, with the shop being converted into a funeral parlor. Thomas’ son, Bernard, followed his father into the business, learning embalming and funeral service at Eckels College in Philadelphia. In the early 1950's a new funeral home was constructed in Galesville to replace the converted blacksmith shop.
Bernard’s oldest son, Tommy, attended the American Academy of Funeral Service in New York City, and helped his father expand into Annapolis in the 1960's, eventually taking over the business. The acquisition of Hopping Funeral Home in Gambrills, Maryland expanded the business to include three separate funeral homes.