Calvin Sossman headshot

Calvin Sossoman will be the featured speaker at the next quarterly meeting of the Burke County Genealogical Society.

The Burke County Genealogical Society will welcome Calvin Sossoman to its quarterly meeting.

Sossoman will present a program to the group at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, in the Ervin Community Room at the Grace Ridge Retirement Community, located at 500 Lenoir Road in Morganton. The meeting is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. 

Sossoman, a retired funeral home businessman, will speak on the topic, “Reflections on a 68-Year Career in a Family Funeral Home.” He will share information about genealogical records kept by funeral homes, the changes he has seen in funeral customs over the years and the highlights of his long career at Sossoman’s Funeral Home.

A lifelong Morganton resident, Sossoman was born into his family's company, Sossoman Funeral Home, three days after his parents, J. C. and Smaro Sossoman, incorporated the firm. The original location on College Street was on the corner of McDowell Street, where the current Morganton Department of Public Safety now stands. The family, including a brother, Charles, and a sister, Madelyn, lived upstairs, with the funeral home located downstairs. 

Calvin's first job at age 4 involved going downstairs in the morning to empty and clean ashtrays. By age 5, he added running the vacuum cleaner to his list of chores and by age 10, he was moving the funeral cars around on the back lot to clean them. 

Calvin is a graduate of Morganton High School, High Point College (B.S. business administration), and Miami-Dade Community College (A.S. mortuary science). He retired in March 2017 after spending 68 years associated with the family business. In the summer of 2017, he went to Maine and completed a 23 -year quest to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

The Ervin Community Room is handicapped-accessible. Visitors are asked to refrain from parking in the numbered spaces , as these are reserved for residents. 

For more information, contact the North Carolina Room at the Burke County Public Library at 828- 764-9266.

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