- About Us
The McClellan-Gariepy Funeral Home is one of the best examples in Washington County of Federal period architecture. The house was built in 1790 by Revolutionary War General John Williams as a wedding present for his daughter, Maria, and her husband, the Hon. Anthony James Blanchard.
A Palladian window arches over the entrance and the front door, flanked by side windows with original hand blown glass panels, has an unusually large, handsome lock which can still be worked with the original key. Spacious rooms with fireplaces open from the broad hall, which extends from the front entrance to a large veranda at the rear of the house. The chapel has a mantel and fireplace framed in Italian marble.
The trimmings of the house without and within are carved by hand in England and designed in the classic style of James and Robert Adam, noted eighteenth century British architects.
The ornate front parlor is referred to as the "Adam Room" and the marriages of several generations of the Blanchard family were performed under a particularly beautiful carved arch in this room. The house once served as a temporary resting place for the body of a hero of the American Revolution, General Richard Montgomery, who was killed in 1775 during the siege of Quebec. In 1818 his body was removed to New York where Congress honored him with a memorial at St. Paul's Church. The funeral cortege stopped in Salem and the General's body lay in state in the hall.
C. Thomas Ross, better known as "Beaver" became a licensed funeral director in 1976 and worked with Charles A. Ackley, while also working as a building contractor. In 1996, he and his wife, Elizabeth, bought the funeral home from Mr. Ackley, changing the name to Ackley & Ross Funeral Home. Along with his duties as the funeral home's manager, Beaver employs his building skills in the construction of wooden boxes that the funeral home uses for cremation and custom made coffins used by the New Skete Monastery and now available to other families. Having lived in Cambridge for over 50 years, Beaver has worked with most of the local families and is always there to welcome "newcomers".
Elizabeth Nichols-Ross joined her husband in the business, becoming a licensed funeral director in 1991. Having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, Elizabeth brings a strong commitment to service as the focus of the funeral industry. In 2003 she completed the Celebrant Certification Program and is available to families that desire someone other than a priest or minister. She believes that attention to detail and a "woman's touch" make a difference in one of life's very important experiences.
Jim Gariepy started working with the Rosses several years ago after buying McClellan Funeral Service (now McClellan-Gariepy Funeral Home) in nearby Salem, NY. He has come to know the Cambridge community through his involvement with the funeral home for the last 8 years. On January 8, 2015, Jim became the new owner of Ackley & Ross Funeral Home which will now be known as Ackley, Ross & Gariepy Funeral Home. Beaver & Elizabeth will be wintering in Florida and upon returning to Cambridge in the spring, they will be assisting Jim at the funeral home in Cambridge as well as Salem.
Greeters include Della McLenithan, Gloria Dawley and Dee Romack. These three lovely ladies have spent most of their lives in Cambridge. Their welcoming smiles and firsthand knowledge of so many people in the community, help make the funeral home a more inviting place.