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Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Gearhart - Sauer Funeral Home

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The institution known now as the Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home of Van Wert started in business over 110 years ago in Middle Point. It was organized by Rev. E.F. Gamble in 1903. After only two years, it became necessary to move the business to larger quarters and Rev. Gamble selected Van Wert as the location of the young and flourishing institution. 

In 1926, Rev. Gamble was joined in his business by Gordon H. Alspach, who had married Rev. Gamble’s daughter, Grace. Shortly thereafter, the name of the company was changed to Gamble & Alspach. Rev. Gamble remained active in the business until his death in 1934, but the funeral home continued operating under the Gamble & Alspach name until 1955 when it changed to Alspach Funeral Home.

In 1957, Gordon and Grace Alspach’s youngest son, John, started his career at the funeral home. John worked with his father until Gordon’s death in 1975. Shortly after Gordon’s death, Michael Gearhart was hired in 1975. Tim Jurczyk joined the funeral home in 1988. 

In 1989, Alspach Funeral Home became Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home, the name it still bears today. John ran the business until his retirement in 1993, at which point Gearhart and Jurczyk bought the funeral home from John who later passed away in 2009. Rodney Bevington was hired in 1994 as a funeral director’s assistant and stepped aside in November 2011. 

1996 saw the addition of the Van Wert Crematory. Investing in a brand new state-of-the-art crematory, Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home became the only full service on-site crematory in Van Wert County- which still holds true today.

In 1998 the Van Wert business opened its doors in the neighboring community of Convoy, Ohio with the construction of a brand new facility, Gearhart & Sauer Funeral Home, to better serve the clientele of western Van Wert County. 

Andrew Gearhart joined the staff of Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home and Gearhart & Jurczyk Funeral Home in 2001. In 2003, Michael Gearhart sold his ownership shares to T. Jurczyk and A. Gearhart, but he continued to remain active in the business until his death in 2016. In early 2012, Steve Alspaugh & Craig Staley were hired as a Funeral Director Assistants. Sean Sauer joined the firm as a funeral director and embalmer in 2015 and became a partner in 2016. In January 2019, Tim Jurczyk sold his ownership shares to Andrew Gearhart and Sean Sauer.

Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory and Gearhart & Sauer Funeral Home are honored to serve the families in our area and proud to be in our 5th generation of local ownership. 


Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home

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We, at Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home, know how important it is to honor the lives of those we love. Five generations of our family have been sharing life experiences in a unique and meaningful way, a way in which the deceased’s life is memorialized through the woven memories of those who surrounded that person.

We will listen to your stories of the life that was lived and assist you in planning the perfect service which will share the memories woven throughout your lives by this very special and unique individual. We will create a “tapestry” of the life, a life story unique to only one, yet meaningful to everyone.

Honoring one’s life shows respect and love to that individual; it shows the uniqueness of one life in an ever-changing world filled with so many other individuals. We allow you to express your relationship with that person whom you loved and will always love, in so many meaningful ways, and we show you how best to celebrate your relationship with that person.

We are so privileged to help celebrate the lives of so many in our surrounding communities, and we thank-you for that opportunity. We are always here to guide you in your most difficult times, or to sit down and listen as you explain your expectations for your own pre-planned “Life’s Celebration".We, at Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home, know how important it is to honor the lives of those we love. Five generations of our family have been sharing life experiences in a unique and meaningful way, a way in which the deceased’s life is memorialized through the woven memories of those who surrounded that person.

 Five Generations of Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home.

Lucille Ripley

Lucille Ripley

Lucille, the daughter of Thomas Ketcham, was the Fourth Generation and became a licensed embalmer in 1945. She graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, and received her Funeral Director’s license. She married Carl Ripley who also acquired both licenses in 1949.


Carl Ripley

Carl Ripley

Carl served in W.W. II, and upon returning from overseas, went to the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science; he received his embalmer’s and funeral director’s license in 1949. Carl was married to Lucille Ripley. They, together, were the Fourth Generation of the Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home.


Ethel Ketcham

Ethel Ketcham

Ethel was the Third Generation, along with her husband Thomas Ketcham. They took over the two Rockford businesses, along with Ralph G. Ketcham, after the death of William in 1920. Ethel not only helped in both businesses, but also kept the books.


Thomas R. Ketcham

Thomas R. Ketcham

Thomas was the Third Generation, along with his wife Ethel Ketcham. Tom is the son of Willam Ketcham, Sr., who was the Second Generation of Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home.

William Ketcham, Sr., was the son of R. Ketcham. R. Ketcham was the 1st generation of Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home and owned the Ketcham Furniture Store in Mercer and manufactured coffins in addition to the furniture. He was also the undertaker in the area.

William Ketcham, Sr., and his partner Samuel Cotterman moved the business to Rockford in 1884. In 1896, they occupied a two story business, at 197 South Main, which served the furniture business and the funeral business. Later, most visitations and many funerals were conducted at the Ketcham residence, 111 West First Street.

Back to the Third Generation, Thomas, whose business partner was Ralph G. Ketcham, became a funeral director and embalmer along with Ralph.


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