Established in 1873 by A.E. Wolfe as Wolfe Marble Works, the business, renamed Wolfe Granite Memorials, is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year.
It has changed hands 10 times through the years while retaining the Wolfe name.
The current owner, Nancy Bookbinder, purchased the business from her parents, Elsie and John DeBlock, in 2002. They had owned Wolfe Granite Memorials for 22 years.
“The construction of the memorials has definitely changed over the years,” she said.
With modern technology, monument designs are computer drafted, and laser etching can produce beautiful artwork.
Granite comes in several colors, Bookbinder noted. “Traditional gray granite comes from Barre, Vermont; black granite from India.”
In the past 150 years, Wolfe Granite Memorials has provided an estimated 20,000 memorials for local families. They were placed in more than 150 different cemeteries throughout the tri-state area and beyond.
“Wolfe is responsible for creating the Civic Memorial at Sussex County Community College as well as a memorial situated at Woodbourne Park in Wantage,” she said.
Among the unusual epitaphs over the years were a memorial with artwork featuring a guitar with “Your Cheatin’ Heart” etched in.
Another memorial featured a peapod, implying that a married couple thought of themselves as two peas in a pod.
“I think of this business as a sensitive, compassionate service,” she said. “A memorial reflects the legacy of the person who has passed and helps the family move from grief to positive memories.”
Wolfe Granite Memorials is at 86 Main St. in Sussex.