The first funeral home in Malta was the Tucker Funeral Home owned by Roscoe V. “Rock” Tucker. Rock was born April 22, 1854 in Westfield, New York. He came to Montana October 24, 1895. He was associated with his father in livery business, hotel management and raising sheep on Beaver Creek, two and one half miles south of Bowdoin.
About the time of his coming to Montana, Mr. Tucker began a non professional undertaking service. He decided in 1908 to adopt this as his business and established his funeral parlors. In a partnership as Tucker & Cauffman he also became an auctioneer. His last funeral parlor was at 201 S. 2nd St. East (across the street from the now Kirkwood Funeral Home). He was coroner of Phillips County from the time of it creation until his death on November 25, 1932. For several months before his death he had been associated with Wilford Bell in the Tucker & Bell Funeral Home.
Wilford F. Bell was born September 4, 1903, in Grinnell, Iowa. His family moved to Montana in 1917 to a homestead south of Malta. After high school he worked on the family farm and Cauffman Grocery. He married Kathryn Brown on August 21, 1921 and they moved to California where he attended San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. In 1932 they returned to Malta where he became associated with the Tucker Funeral Home. His name was added to the business in July of 1932. He ran as Tucker & Bell Funeral Home until 1933 when he dropped the Tucker name. In 1936 Wilford build a new funeral home on the corner of 2nd Ave. East and 3rd Street East, 227 S. 2nd Ave. East. Wilfred ran the funeral home and in 1968 brought Garry L. Adams in to manage the business for him. Wilford sold the business to Garry in 1970.
Garry L. Adams was born August 7, 1944 in Three Forks. After graduating high school he attended the University of Minnesota for an associate’s degree in Mortuary Science. He returned to Montana where he worked in Helena. In 1968 he moved to Malta, where he worked as the manager for the Bell Funeral Home. Garry became very involved with the business and in 1970 he purchased it and changed the name to Adams Bell Funeral Home. Garry started planning for the future and purchased land at the corner of 2nd Ave. East and 2nd Street East, 202 S. 2nd St. East, for his new funeral home. He built the new Adams Funeral Home in 1978. This was a state of the art building with over 7,800 square feet of floor space, including a 4 car garage. The chapel will seat 200 people and had two visitation rooms with a nice family room. It has two public restrooms with one more that could be used for the handicap. With everything on one level it makes it nice for anyone to attend a funeral and has also hosted weddings.
Garry ran the business for many years and always was bringing in new ideas to help with the services. He was one of the first to add the obituary to the memorial folders. He then added the photograph for the deceased to the folder. In the late 1990’s he added color photographs and started customizing the memorial folders. We also started adding color photos of the flowers to the memorial book and color photos of the deceased.
In 1994 while visiting Jan’s parents, Garry offered Greg Kirkwood the job as manager of the funeral home, with the possibility of purchasing it in the future. Greg was hired, and on August 21, 1994 started as manager. Greg and Jan moved to Malta from Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he had been manager of a funeral home for a number of years.
Greg was born April 4, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas. After high school in 1965, he enlisted in the Air Force. His first duty station was Glasgow Air Force Base where he arrived in December of 1965. He met Janice Carlson on a blind date on April 15, 1966 and they were married on April 16, 1967 in her home town of Wolf Point. After his discharge in 1969, they moved to Wichita Kansas where he attended Friends University and Wichita State University. In 1973 they moved to Oklahoma so he could attend Central State University for mortuary school. After graduating in 1976 with a Bachelors of Science degree, they worked in Hominy, Oklahoma for a few years and moved to Montana where he worked in Wolf Point and Three Forks. In 1983 they moved to Glenwood Spring and later to Delta Colorado and then back to Glenwood Springs.
It was in 1978 Greg first met Garry Adams. They started a friendship that grew more while he lived in Garry’s home town of Three Forks and Greg got to know Garry’s parents.
In January of 1999 Garry added the Hi-Line Crematory to the business. Greg had run a crematory in Colorado and together they had some good marketing plans. This was the first crematory on the Hi-line of Montana.
On August 21, 2008, 14 years to the date he started working for Garry, Greg bought the Adams Funeral Home and change the name to Adams Kirkwood Funeral Home. On July 1, 2009 the name will be changed to Kirkwood Funeral Home.
In 2019, Wilderness Funeral Homes purchased the Malta location in order to provide more services along the Montana Hi-Line.