Our History

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Our History

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

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In the early 1900's, L. Martin Sauls, Sr., his wife, Coy Bowers Sauls and their Children, L. Martin Sauls, Jr., Geneva Sauls (Thomas) and Mytris Lee Sauls moved to Ridgeland from Hampton, South Carolina. L. Martin Sauls, Sr. began to work in a hardware store and later opened his own general store where he began selling caskets along with offering his funeral services. At this time, the funeral home was called Ridgeland Funeral Home. Several years later, funeral directors were required to be licensed by the state. L. Martin Sauls, Sr. along with Pernel Stevenson and Gee Orr were issued licenses under the "grandfather" provision of that law. Coy Bowers Sauls died in 1935 at the early age of 44 years and her obituary reads "she was one of the most beloved women in the town of Ridgeland". Four years later, in 1939, L. Martin Sauls, Sr. died at the age of 49 years. He was an active Mason and a member of the Ridgeland Baptist Church where he served as deacon.

Having graduated from Gupton Jones College of Embalming in 1938 where Cameron Sauls graduated from in 1928, L. Martin Sauls, Jr. and his wife Reba Valentine Sauls became the owners and operators of the funeral home and changed the name to Sauls Funeral Home. They moved the funeral home from the hardware store, which later became K. B. Grocery and then Charlie's Auto Parts, into a hotel owned by the Livingstons located on the east side of U.S. 17 just north of Main Street. In 1964, the Sauls purchased and moved the funeral home to the C. E. Perry house on Adams Avenue where it remains today.

L. Martin Sauls, Jr. affectionately known as "Big Martin", and his wife, Reba Valentine Sauls, operated the funeral home, the county ambulance service and a furniture store. Martin and Reba were the proud parents of three children, L. Martin Sauls, III lovingly nicknamed, "Little Martin", Anne Valentine Sauls, and the oldest who died at birth.

Following in his father's footsteps, L. Martin Sauls, Jr. became an active member of the Ridgeland Baptist Church where he served as deacon and served on the building committee which constructed the sanctuary that burned on the days after Christmas in 1995. He was also a past master of American Lodge #98 and member of the Omar Shrine Temple, served as Chairman of the School Board when the Ridgeland High School was built and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Bank of Ridgeland. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors at the time the Ridgeland Hospital was being built.

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In 1971, L. Martin Sauls, III graduated from the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science and became a full time employee of Sauls Funeral Home. His only time away from the business was during a call back to the Navy during Vietnam. Although college was a must, "Little Martin" speaks affectionately of his father placing him on a stool to listen and learn the daily business for his "hands on" experience. "Little Martin" and Anne were raised in an apartment above the funeral home until 1958 when their first home was purchased.

L. Martin Sauls, Jr. served as Jasper County Coroner from the early 1950's until his death in 1979. L. Martin Sauls, III was appointed by the Governor of South Carolina in January, 1980, to serve the unexpired term of his father. "Little Martin" was elected Jasper County Coroner in 1981 and continues to serve in that capacity today.

Little Martin served at Ridgeland Baptist Church as Deacon and has served on numerous committees in both Jasper and Beaufort counties. He was the first Chairman of the Palmetto Electirc PET Board and past Chairman of the Coastal Carolina Medical Center where he now serves on the Board of Directors.

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Martin is US Navy veteran of Vietnam, a Mason, and a Shriner.

After her marriage to Little Martin in 1978, Diane Punzel Sauls became an essential part of the family business.(she had formerly been employed as an executive general manager by the Hilton Hotels Corporation). Since joining the business, "She has made every contribution imaginable to its successful operation and is known as being able to 'do everything'," her husband proudly says. She is also active in her community.

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