A young Willie James Gist also known as “W.J.” had recently completed military duties in the United States Army during World War II. Wanting to come back to his home town and start a business with careful thought and consideration, he decided to open a funeral home.
On April 3, 1949, W.J. and his business partner AJ Smith opened the Gist and Smith Mortuary located on Workman Ave. Woodruff SC. After a couple years of service in 1951 Odell Gist and Fred Gist wanted to join their brother in the family business. From that day the Gist and Smith Mortuary was rename to Gist Bros. Mortuary.
The brothers worked together as a family for many years until 1957 and decided to rename the Gist Bros. Mortuary to the W.J. Gist Mortuary. W.J. Gist faithfully served the Woodruff community and surrounding areas for over 50 years until his passing in 2002.
The family business is now owned by Kenneth E. Gist the son of the late W.J. Gist.