History of Zwick & Jahn Funeral Homes
William H. Zwick, Founder
One of the oldest family owned funeral homes in Indiana, Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home can trace its roots to April 10, 1899 when William H. Zwick bought an interest in the Auten & Gay Undertaking and Furniture Store in Decatur. This started a family-owned tradition that has survived for over 100 years and continues today.
In April of 1929, William H. Zwick purchased the remaining shares of the company and his son, Robert J. Zwick joined the firm following his graduation from Mortuary School. Following this purchase, the funeral home was renamed W. H. Zwick & Son. Robert Zwick continued in the operation of the funeral home until his retirement in the late 1980's.
In 1934, the funeral home location was moved from the furniture store near downtown to the Colonel Fred Reppert home where activities continue today.
In 1953 a notable event occurred as the furniture portion of the business was sold. Up to this point in time, a furniture store was often associated with a funeral home. However, following the conclusion of World War II, funeral homes began divesting themselves of furniture stores and focusing primarily on funeral service and ambulance service.
In 1960, Robert's son, William H. Zwick, joined the firm after his graduation from Valparaiso University, becoming the 3rd Generation to be involved in the funeral home and the name was changed to Zwick Funeral Home, Inc.
In June of 1962, Dean Boltz joined the funeral home and continued until his retirement in 1987.
In 1975, Zwick Funeral Home turned over the ambulance service to the Adams County Commissioners. Prior to this date, funeral homes also ran ambulance services for those in need. This was a natural fit because of the specialized equipment that funeral homes possessed, making it easier to transfer individuals to and from hospitals.
In 1978, Mark R. Jahn joined the firm. He had worked at the D.O. McComb and Sons Funeral Home in Fort Wayne from 1971 to 1978. Mark also came from a distinguished funeral home background. His father was well-known Wells County funeral director Ralph Jahn, who operated the Jahn Funeral Home in Bluffton from 1922 - 1956.
In June of 1993, Robert Zwick died, ending a chapter of over 60 years involvement in the funeral home's operation. Bob, as he was known, developed a relationship with families that is still recalled and remembered to this day.
In 1993, Zwick & Jahn purchased the Marquart & Jacobs Funeral Home in Monroeville from Jerry L. Jacobs and his wife Rose. Since 1977, Jerry and Rose had operated the funeral home and served the residents of the Monroeville area with compassion and care. This purchase brought Jerry and Rose onto the Zwick & Jahn team.
In 1994, Jonathan R. Zwick, great-grandson of William H., joined the firm, becoming the 4th Generation of the Zwick family to be involved with the funeral home.
In the winter of 1995, the May Tope property was purchased and the house removed to create additional parking for the funeral home. With this purchase, off street parking was increased by 40% and additional flexibility was created for larger funerals.
In the summer of 1998, construction began on the Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home, Jacobs Chapel, in Monroeville. The original funeral home was razed and a new, single level building complete with family lounge and large area for services was built. The new facility was completed and dedicated in May 1999.
In March 2004, Zwick & Jahn was approached by Liby Monuments for the purchase of that business from longtime owners Clay and Jan Smith. Jan has brought her experience in this area as she continues as the Office Manager for Liby Monuments. Additionally, Dale Adler was hired for engraving and lettering monuments, installing foundations, and installing Veteran's Plaques. This business has come full circle since the Zwick Funeral Home sold the same business in the middle 1950's to Dale Liby.
In January of 2005, construction was started on a state-of-the-art and secure preparation room, hairdressing area, and family identification center that is in a separate structure from the main funeral home at Zwick & Jahn. This created a specialized area to accommodate individual family requests. In addition, it allowed for a secure chemical and biohazard area to be established, separate from any public areas, which aides in compliance with federal OSHA regulations.
In 2005, a substantial reconstruction of Second Street in Decatur resulted in many changes to the exterior of Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home. New sidewalks, curbs, and street combined with a new landscape and irrigation design to update the exterior of the facility were among the improvements.
In May of 2007 the last, and most extensive, of the planned major improvements was initiated by Zwick & Jahn. These improvements, which started in 2004, would result in a modernization of the facilities. This construction project would involve: 2 new covered public entrances, a portico for dismissing funerals, a 3-stop elevator to provide access to all public areas of the funeral home, new handicap accessible restrooms, a second public lounge, expansion of the current lounge, a catering area for funeral dinners and non-traditional funeral services, and a new arrangement office and selection room.
In 2011, Molly Farthing was hired as a memorial designer at Liby Monuments and also received training as a funeral celebrant. With an increasing number of people not holding membership in an area church, Molly's role as a funeral celebrant will allow Zwick & Jahn to offer a unique, customized service which reflects the lifestyle of the deceased.
Today, Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home has locations in Decatur and Monroeville and serves families in Ohio and Indiana with the same caring and individual attention that has been a trademark since 1899.