Our History

Our history begins in the early 1900s when William C. “Bill” Smith served as an apprentice at P.J. Hursen Funeral Homes. After gaining adequate experience, Bill opened his own firm on Armitage Ave. in the Kelvin Park/Craign area of Chicago before later moving to North Cicero Avenue where he served families until his passing.


Bill’s sons Bill, Larry and Bob all joined in the family business. Bob Smith Sr. continued in his father’s footsteps expanding the company by purchasing Corcoran Funeral Home at 6150 N. Cicero Ave and Lain-Hursen Funeral Home at 5501 N. Ashland Avenue.


Bob’s son, Bob Smith Jr., became a 3rd generation funeral director in the 1980s. He and his father purchased Birren and Son Funeral Home at 6215 N. Clark Street and merged Lain-Hursen with this location. A year later, Smith-Corcoran constructed a new location at 185 E Northwest Highway in Palatine.


In the 2000s, the Smiths expanded service to families in the northern suburbs by purchasing, remodeling and renaming the William H. Scott Funeral Home on Waukegan Rd. in Glenview. The Smith family consolidated the Chicago locations to the Cicero Avenue Chapel in 2005.


Bob Jr.’s son, Jay, came into the business in 2009 to continue the family legacy. Jay was fortunate enough to work with his Dad and Grandpa until Bob Sr.’s passing in late 2010. Then in 2017 the Smith’s were excited to add Kelly, Jay’s sister, to the family business. Bob Jr., Jay, and Kelly continue to work with families leading with a compassionate and caring nature.


Focused on serving the community, Smith-Corcoran has excelled over the years. Bob Jr., Jay, and Kelly are actively involved in service organizations; in 1991, Bob Sr. served as president of the National Funeral Directors Association. Previously, he served as president of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association in 1972 and Funeral Directors Association of Greater Chicago in 1963. Bob Jr. has also served on many local committees from churches to chambers of commerce. He has been a funeral service leader having held positions on the board of directors for Selected Independent Funeral Homes, Northeastern Illinois Funeral Directors Association, and most recently on the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. Jay too has continued the family’s legacy of service, being on several community boards in the Sauganash and Edgebrook neighborhoods along with being a board of the University of Notre Dame Chicago Club and past president of the Northeastern Illinois Funeral Directors Association. Kelly has used her law background to help with the Illinois Funeral Directors Association’s legal committee and is committed to serving our communities.


We are proud of our family’s legacy of service to our communities. It is our goal to help our neighbors during their most difficult moments. Family owned means more than anything to us and it is our commitment to you to provide care and compassion that only a neighbor can.