The History of Shaffer Funeral Home

Mr. B. T. Racey was the original owner of the business, then named B. T. Racey, Dealer in Furniture and Hardware, Undertaking a Speciality. He was the only funeral director and the first embalmer in Hampshire County.

In 1938, Earl Thrush purchased the business and it became the Thrush Funeral Home and was located on West Main Street across from Endler Avenue.

On July 1, 1955 Mr. and Mrs. Keith Shaffer purchased the business and it became Shaffer Funeral Home. In 1959, Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer purchased the Cornwell mansion from the estate of Mrs. John J. Cornwell.

Keith and Ila Shaffer, with their children Mark and Sarah, moved to the Cornwell Mansion in 1959. Glenn Shingleton (Ila’s first cousin) was an integral part of the business and the family. The people most remember running the business were Keith and Glenn, however, Ila was the one who “manned the fort.” There were no cell phones, no call forwarding, no answering services back then – she was the one who answered the phones, operated the 2-way radio and answered the front and back doors.

In 1976 Sarah became licensed and her parents were finally able to have a life, on occasion, away from the funeral home. In 1986, Keith was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in April of 1987. This event compelled Mark to get his license and move back from Florida with his wife Sandy. Sarah, Ila, Mark and Glenn operated Shaffer’s until 2000, when Mark decided to make a career change and it was decided it was time to sell the business.

Cornwell Mansion Door

Fred and Debbie Warnick (from Westernport) bought Shaffer’s and Sarah stayed on as the licensed funeral director. After Fred’s unexpected passing in 2005, his wife, Sarah and Glenn were left to run the business. At that time, Deb had no interest in running the funeral home, Sarah didn’t want to do it by herself and Glenn was ready to retire. This was the point of major transition and a homecoming.

A regular guest at the Shaffer’s, from the age of 6, Carter Wagoner had recently sold his interest in his funeral homes in Falls Church, VA and Annapolis, MD. Sarah was aware of this and would call on Carter to come help as needed during that time. In 2007, Sarah and Carter decided to buy Shaffer’s back from Deb and become the 2007 version of Keith and Glenn, with her mother, Ila, still answering telephones.

Sarah and Carter enjoyed (almost) every moment of owning and operating Shaffer’s together for 8 years or so until Sarah’s retirement in June of 2015. Jamie Kidwell entered the picture soon after Sarah and Carter purchased the funeral home. Jamie was born and raised in the area, graduated from Hampshire High and WVU. He owned and operated Hampshire Handyworks. Jamie was responsible for much of the major renovations at the old Cornwell mansion and soon developed an interest in funeral service. He earned his degree in mortuary studies from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science while operating his business full time and raising up his two small children, Nixon and Berkley with his lovely wife, Alison.

Jamie shelved his hammer and nails in the spring of 2015 and became the new “other half” of Shaffer’s. For the next 6 years, Carter and Jamie ran the funeral home together.

In the summer of 2021, they welcomed a new apprentice into the fold. Savanna Morgret, daughter-in-law to Sarah, began her journey in funeral care in 2021 at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Being a graduate of Hampshire High School and WVU, she was eager to put roots back down in West Virginia with her husband, Clarke and their three children, Haedilynn, Thea, and Johnny. After Clarke’s 11-year career in the US Navy, they were finally able to move back home to Romney. They purchased Ila’s home next to the funeral home in July of 2021, continuing in the footsteps of Clarke’s family.

After Savanna graduated PIMS and obtained her license in the Spring of 2023, it was finally time for Carter to pass the torch. Upon Carter’s retirement, Jamie became the new owner of Shaffer Funeral Home. Together, he and Savanna, along with their families, hope to continue to serve the families in our community during their times of need.

Shaffer Funeral Home has been around for 60+ years and it is hoped it will be around another 60+ years. We are always honored to answer your call to care for you and your family.

The Cornwell Mansion

John Cornwell was born in Ritchie County on July 11, 1867 and educated in Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV. After leaving Shepherd College he began a career as a publisher and editor and was co-owner of the Hampshire Review with his brother, William. He remained active as publisher and wrote editorials until his death in 1953.

Active in the national democratic conventions of 1896 and 1912 and serving from 1896 to 1906 as a member of the West Virginia Senate, John J. Cornwell was elected Governor in 1916 and served his State until 1921, when he resumed his home and management of his business interests in Romney.

Some of his many accomplishments include financing and building the Hampshire Southern Railroad (40 miles long), President of the Bank of Romney as well as the South Branch Development Company and the South Branch Tie and Lumber Company. He served as director in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., held the office of secretary and treasurer of the Appalachian Orchard Co. and had the distinction of being one of the prominent editors of the state and authored a book entitled “Knock About Notes” published in 1915. A Mason and Odd Fellow, he married Edna Brady of Romney June 30, 1891

Shaffer Funeral at Night

Shaffer Funeral Home

Phone: (304) 822-3511

230 East Main St., Romney, WV 26757


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