The McCulley Family

The McCulley Family

The McCulley’s were literally born into the funeral business. From the time Mr. Charles McCulley was 8 years old, he traveled to Chicago in the summers to work with his uncle, who was the head embalmer at a funeral home. While a typical child might be apprehensive in such an environment, Charles embraced the experience, learning everything he could. He did his first embalming at age 14. He loved the work and wanted to be an undertaker. In 1958 he elected to study Mortuary Science in San Francisco, California, where he graduated second in his class, in 1959. He obtained employment with funeral homes in the Bay Area before venturing south to Los Angeles, where he joined the staff of the prestigious Angelus Funeral Home. It was there that he garnered a wealth of experience, including assisting to prepare the body of legendary singer Nat King Cole.

While stationed in Panama, a classmate from the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science, contacted Charles to advise him about a funeral home that was available for sale in Pueblo, Colorado. Charles would be the perfect man to serve the community. Jones Mortuary served the Hispanic and African-American populations of Pueblo. During that time, other funeral homes in Pueblo wouldn’t provide service to those two groups.

Jones’ funeral home had paved the way for the McCulleys. Charles and Petra purchased the Jones Funeral Home in 1968. They later changed the name to Angelus Chapel. They continued with the tradition of serving minority families not served by other mortuaries and did so with dignity and pride. Petra’s first language was Spanish and she acted as a go-between for Charles and the Hispanic families. They were told to “take care of the Colored People and the Mexicans.” That charge would have intimidated or insulted someone else, but not Charles and Petra. Instead, they accepted that challenge with honor and dignity and provided the best service to the so-called “Colored and Mexicans.” Not only did they take care of the “Colored and Mexicans,” but they took care of the Italians, Irish, the Bojons….they took care of anyone from any family in need of their service.

They did not see people according to their race, their creed or their color. They did not see them by their occupation, by their neighborhood or by their social status. They saw them as people, and they ran their business by the creed of treating “every man as if he were their father or brother, every woman as if she were their mother or sister.” This is the legacy they practiced daily and it is evident in the day-to-day operation of the McCulley family’s funeral business today. They faced obstacles and challenges and met them head on with courage and determination. They were building a legacy for their family, their children and their children. They wanted all of their family to be a part of that legacy with pride. They wanted their children to be able to run a business that was personal, family-centered and community-encompassing. And when times called for toughness, they wanted them to be able to survive and flourish in a business that competes with corporate philosophies and practices. But above all, they wanted their family to be strong and of good character in this world.

Charles and Petra shared a strong faith and they truly believed what their faith taught them. They were principled, straight forward, yet very human. They exhibited their humanness in their compassion and honesty. They didn’t view their business as a business but as “a calling, a ministry”.

When Charles and Petra moved to Pueblo he promised her they would stay two to five years and then sell the funeral home and move to California. But once they met the people of Pueblo, drank the water, and ate the green chili, they fell in love with Pueblo and made it the city that they would call home, raise their family and grow their personal and professional connections. In May 2018 the family-owned business celebrated 50 years. During that span and to this day, the McCulley family and their business have been the recipients of love, respect, and recognition from the people of Pueblo and Colorado Springs CO. Charles and Petra were leaders in the community and were members of many organizations. Among those honors are the designation as Honorary Grand Marshalls of the 2004 Colorado State Fair Fiesta Day Parade, the Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award (2008), the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award (2012), Lifetime members of the NAACP and a host of others too numerous to mention.

Today their son, Franklin O. McCulley, (Owner of Angelus Chapel Funeral Directors Inc., of Colorado Springs, Co) and daughter Yanera Y. McCulley-Sedillo (President of Angelus Chapel of Pueblo CO) is continuing their legacy of over 50 years of longstanding community service through participation in local organizations. Franklin and Yanera continues on in the family tradition and are members of the same organizations.

Angelus Chapel Funeral Directors and Crematory | (719) 391-1918
1104 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80910

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