In 1906, Hazey P. Loritts, Dayton’s first Negro Funeral Director, owned and operated the Loritts Funeral Home. He started in a small location at 636 West Fifth Street which was divided into three smaller rooms. Here he struggled for six years, living on just ten cents a day, but saving a part of his earnings for a cherished objective, which he realized in 1912 when he had saved enough to purchase the property. From those lean days he was able to purchase three additional properties, all of which were paid-in-full while operating his business debt free.
The Dayton Forum Newspaper reported that Mr. Loritts, “Dayton’s progressive mortician makes substantial improvement in his establishment, by buying ultra-modern funeral cars.” He added a three-way Packard hearse to his fleet. The new funeral car was the latest. It could be loaded from either side or from the rear. The hearse was upholstered with the finest imported crimson mohair, detailed with sold silver trimmings – a real beautiful job, and withal quite fittings for one to take his last ride out of the terrestrial into the celestial. In addition to the new hearse, the Loritts Funeral Home had been decorated with soft brown panels, giving an atmosphere of serenity, comforting to the bereaved, and solemnity to the services.
Mr. Loritts was a natural leader and a fearless, staunch fighter for racial rights. He was active in the Republican Party, serving as a Montgomery County Executive committeeman, a Seventh Ward committeeman and serving on the Montgomery County draft board. He was also a member of the Wayman Chapel AME Church and served on the Trustee Board. His professional and masonic affiliations include the Buckeye State Funeral Directors Association, the Montgomery County Funeral Directors Club, The Miami City Oddfellows Lodge, and the Past Exalted Ruler of Waldorf Lodge No. 76. Additionally, Mr. Loritts was the owner of the old CMIA Baseball Club of Dayton.
The native of Conover NC and resident of Dayton for fifty years died at his home at the age of 77 after a short illness. Funeral services were held at the Wayman Chapel AME Church, Reverend Wallace O. Wright officiated with the interment at the Woodland Cemetery.
Howard T. Loritts ran the funeral home after his uncle’s death until 1964 when ownership was transferred to him. Howard was civic and community involved like his uncle. His affiliations included a member of Harmony Lodge No 77, the Spur Club, Waldorf Lodge No 76, Montgomery County Funeral Directors Association, and the Ohio Funeral Directors Association. He was known as a compassionate individual, fun-loving with a sense of humor, but serious at time and a good businessman. Under Howard Loritts’ ownership, a new building was built in 1963 at the current location of 3924 West Third Street where he operated for 31 years. On September 29, 1995, Howard Taft Loritts died at his nephew’s home in Roanoke VA. His remains were returned to Dayton OH where under the arrangements of the Loritts-Neilson Funeral Home, services were held on Thursday, October 5, 1995 at McKinley United Methodist Church, Reverend Dr. William J. Augman officiated and entombment took place at the Woodland Mausoleum.
In October 1993, Howard T. Loritts, sold the firm to Ernest Neilson, III, current Owner/President of the Loritts-Neilson Funeral Home, Inc. Like his two predecessors, Mr. Neilson is active in the community. His affiliations include member of Greater Allen AME Church, several Masonic affiliations (Prince Hall Affiliates), past board member of Habitat for Humanity (Dayton Chapter), and many professional associations – Ohio Funeral Directors Association, Ohio Embalmer Association, Greater Dayton & Montgomery County Embalmers & Funeral Directors Association, and International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association.
Loritts-Neilson Funeral Home
Phone: (937) 262-0065
3924 W. 3rd St., Dayton, OH 45417
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