West Virginia: 113-year old firm purchased by 4th generation Ohio firm
When you look at the map the Ohio River separates the states of Ohio and West Virginia as well as the cities of Steubenville, Ohio, and Weirton, West Virginia. Now, however, the bridge over the Ohio River will not only connect the states and cities but two historical funeral homes as well.
It is noted in this recent article from the Weirton Daily Times, that the Steel and Wolfe Funeral Homes of Weirton have been acquired by the Mosti Funeral Home of Steubenville, Ohio.
Steel and Wolfe, owned until recently by the husband and wife team of Doug and Mary Hannah Finton, can trace its roots back 113 years when Marshall Steel opened the funeral home. The Wolfe family became owners in 1947 and continued ownership until this transaction as Mary Hannah Finton was the daughter of Harold E. Wolfe.
As for the Mosti family, the funeral home that they operate is in the 4th generation of of Mosti family ownership. They trace the beginnings of their funeral home back to 1917 and their involvement in Steubenville to 1927.
Here is the website of the Mosti Funeral Home
Here is the website of the Steel and Wolfe Funeral Home
Funeral Director Daily take: I’m always amazed at the generational aspect of funeral home ownership. Probably the only profession in America that is as “heritage connected” as the funeral home business might be the family farm.
It is just interesteing and unusual to see that “connectedness” in a profession continue on for generations. I’ve often tried to put my finger on what creates that continuing family heritage in the death care business. I think that there are two main reasons — 1) It is an “under the radar” business that not many people think about entering and 2) It is a business where the satisfaction, albeit not without stress and a great amount of effort, of working in it every day is easily seen by younger family members.
My own family evolved into the funeral home business from cabinetry making and then coffin making before becoming a modern funeral business. We worked for four generations and 141 years before retiring from it with no interest from the next generations.
Finally, the Steel and Wolfe/Mosti combiniation is interesting because in this day of national and regional operators two historical funeral homes found each other in an effort to carry on those family traditions. Like our situation, where young family members had other interests that didn’t involve funeral service, most of those historical firms are acquired by the larger consolidator operators.
I think if potential historical firms are looking at a transition that doesn’t involve family these kind of heritage consolidations will occur more often as continuing firms look to “grow their base” to reach a higher plateau of scale. . . . that scale will involve “right-sizing” everything from revenues to facilities to staffing in order to grow profits.
Related Article — Great Britain’s oldest family owned funeral firm. . . . .333 years, 10 generations, and counting
More news from the world of Death Care:
- City approves permit for Pratt Funeral Home conversion into Airbnb and restaurant. Jacksonville Daily Record (FL)
- Stoneman Willie: A 128-year old mystery finally laid to rest in Reading, Pennsylvania. Newsbreak.com
- “Gotten a lot worse”: Veteran gravesites ignored, neglected at Mt. Washington Cemetery. Video news story and print article. WDRB -TV – Louisville (KY)
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