Broadway Mortuary’s history began in 1913, when Earl P. Martin and Charles E. Lahey founded the City Undertaking Company in Wichita, Kansas. Originally both a furniture business and funeral parlor, the storefront was located across from Union Station at 918 E. Douglas in Wichita. In 1915, the furniture division was discontinued and then in 1918 City Undertaking moved to 922 E. Douglas. In 1926, the firm’s name was changed to Lahey and Martin Mortuary and another move was made to 1401 E. Douglas. After their partnership dissolved in 1938, Mr. Martin built Broadway Mortuary at its present Lincoln and Broadway location.
In 1951, Jack H. Cozine, a Wichita businessman and executive with the Boeing Company, and Dick A. Morris, a funeral director from Newton, Kansas purchased the mortuary from Mr. Martin. Combining Cozine’s business knowledge and people skills with Morris’ funeral service experience, they set about to bring a new level of service and care to the families of Wichita. This included the first adjacent off-street mortuary parking within the city; the first uniform fleet of cars, including make and color; new working hours and conditions for staff members; the modernizing and changing of some antiquated funeral practices; and the implementation of a modern and efficient ambulance service which was sold to the City of Wichita in 1958 and served as a forerunner to today’s county Emergency Medical Service. As a result of their leadership, Cozine and Morris rapidly gained a reputation for excellence and the number of families they served increased dramatically.
In 1963, after the death of Mr. Morris, William L. (Bill) Cozine left Washburn Law School to attend the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science. Upon graduation in 1964, Bill returned home to Wichita and joined his father in business. The Cozine family’s dedication and commitment to the Wichita community was evidenced by Jack and Bill’s involvement and participation in a wide range of business, civic and church activities. The mortuary continued to grow, becoming a major firm in the city, as well as the state. Bill and his father worked together until Jack’s death in 1976.
Following his father’s death, Bill continued his involvement in the community and further developed his passion to teach others about the grieving process. He brought a number of national caliber speakers to Wichita to help educate ministers, medical personnel and hospice caregivers about effectively serving those in grief. He also regularly spoke to groups including churches, businesses, high schools and colleges about death and dying.
Broadway Mortuary’s resilient spirit was apparent in its strong comeback from a devastating fire that destroyed the building on New Year’s Eve of 1990. The mortuary’s coat of arms, designed at the time, contains the Latin motto, “virtus venit per ignem,” which translates to “strength comes through fire.” Despite several setbacks, the mortuary continued to operate across the street at Broadway Christian Church without a single day of interruption. In 1992, the doors of the present Lincoln and Broadway facility were once again opened to the public.
In 1993, after completing graduate school at Oxford University in England, W. Ashley Cozine returned home to join the family business. His forward-thinking approach and attention to detail, resulted in continuous improvements and new standards of service. Under his leadership, Broadway Mortuary and its staff have been recognized multiple times as a recipient of the prestigious Pursuit of Excellence Award by the National Funeral Director’s Association.
In 1995, the Cozine’s spirit of compassion and innovation led them to expand and diversify their family business with the development of Kensington Gardens cemetery. With the addition of its state-of-the-art crematory facility, a complete selection of memorialization products and services, and its distinct range of cemetery options in a unique and beautiful setting, Kensington Gardens is well positioned for continued growth.
In 2008, the Cozine Memorial Group was established in order to better integrate the mortuary, cemetery and crematory operations, and to position itself for future opportunities and expansion. This unwavering commitment to helping others by providing compassionate and personal service, as well as innovative funeral and memorial options that are of exceptional quality and value, continues to set Cozine Memorial Group apart as the leader in providing the families of Wichita with a level of unmatched personalized service and care.
In 2013, Cozine Memorial Group marked its 100-year tradition of service to the families of Wichita! While many significant changes have taken place since City Undertaking Company was founded in 1913, the one constant is Cozine Memorial Group’s commitment to setting the standard for funeral service excellence.
In 2014, the funeral home was inducted into the National Funeral Directors Association’s Hall of Excellence – having received its 10th Pursuit of Excellence Award! Broadway Mortuary is the only Wichita funeral home to have achieved this recognition.
“Your kindness and compassion have been a resting place for my many concerns. It’s truly a comfort to have our needs looked after by a Christian family that understands our loss. Thank you for your help and prayers.”