Ella Echols Chambers, 95, a retired licensed funeral director who, with her late husband W.W. Chambers Sr., helped found and operate the Chambers Funeral Homes in this area, died of cardiac arrest Friday at the Carroll Manor nursing home in Adelphi.
Mrs. Chambers lived in Riverdale for more than 40 years before moving to the nursing home about four years ago.
Born and reared in Washington, she was married to Garyton C. Echols Sr., who died several years after their marriage.
She served as a Navy yeoman here during World War I and, in 1919, married Mr. Chambers, who had established a funeral home here about 1914. The business floundered while he served in the armed forces during the war and Mrs. Chambers helped her husband redevelop his business after the war. Said to be one of the first licensed women funeral directors in the country, she became less active in the business after her husband's death in 1954.
Mrs. Chambers was a charter member of the Catholic Daughters of America and a member of the Sodality at St. Jerome's Catholic Church in Hyattsville. She was a member for more than 60 years of the Jacob Jones Post of the American Legion and was a member of the Prince George's County Soroptimist Club and the Riverdale Woman's Club.
Survivors include two sons, W.W. Chambers Jr. of Temple Hills, and Garyton C. Echols Jr. of Tall Timbers, Md., nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.