In 1930, my grandfather, Ernest H. Clegg, started Clegg’s Memorials in Morrisville, Vermont.
Like a lot of Vermonters at that time, he was involved in several different ventures. Besides being Morrisville’s first Chief of Police and a Lamoille County Deputy Sheriff, he raised and sold chickens and eggs to families and businesses in the area. He was also a state wrestling champion and avid motorcyclist.
My grandfather understood the meaning of honesty, integrity, and respect. Those qualities made him a successful businessman, public servant, friend, and neighbor. He knew everyone in town and, in turn, members of the community knew they could rely on him when it was time to memorialize a loved one. Whether the need was immediate or for the future, he helped hundreds of families, during his 46 years in the memorial business, make one of the most sensitive and emotional purchases of their lifetime.
As a child, I admired the relationships my grandfather had with so many local people. We spent a lot of time together out in the community, and I enjoyed watching him interact with people who went out of their way to stop and speak to him. When he passed away suddenly in 1976, my father, John E. Clegg, decided to leave his career at IBM to continue the memorial business. He, too, shared the same sense of duty to the community as his father — working as a Morristown Police officer and helping to start the Morristown Ambulance Service.
In 2006, after 30 years, my father offered me the chance to take over the business that I had literally grown up in. Some of my earliest memories are stretching out hoses and carrying tools for my grandfather at local cemeteries. Over the years, that involvement reached almost every aspect of the stone trade. My father taught me to do setting, cleaning, sandblasting, drafting, and stone cutting.
In my adult life, not a year has gone by that someone hasn’t shared a story with me about my grandfather. So, even over 30 years after his death, people still remember him and the role he played in their lives and in his community. My goal is to build on this foundation and expand the legacy left to me by my father and grandfather — a family-owned and operated business that invests in long-term relationships by providing quality products and personalized service.
Our lives today are so busy and fast-paced. The rate at which we travel, work, and communicate is much different than it was in 1930. Still, some things remain the same. The idea of purchasing a family memorial is something we don’t think about readily, although it is likely the most enduring purchase we will ever make. It evokes emotions about our mortality and stirs memories of our loved ones.
I believe that it should be considered early, so that families can make the decision together, without the feeling of stress or grief from a recent loss. It also takes the burden off children or grandchildren who might have to make the decision alone, otherwise.
My grandfather founded Clegg’s Memorials on the tradition of neighbors helping neighbors. Today, our family-owned company remains committed to assisting families with this once in a lifetime experience.
~ John E. Clegg Jr.