The Lindley Funeral Home at 910 Washington Street in Chillicothe is celebrating 50 years in business, and has the distinction of being the only funeral business in Chillicothe and Livingston County that has had a continuous family ownership and operation for over five decades.
The funeral home’s history can be traced back to 1867, when D.F. Chapin and George Fobis started a furniture business which was in the 400 block of Locust Street. Through the latter 1800’s the business had other partners. In 1871, a Mr. Baker became partners with Mr. Chapin and in 1895 Mr. Chapin and his son A. F. Chapin bought out Mr. Baker. In 1899, when I.M. Greer and F.A. Meinershagen started a funeral business at 507 Washington Street, and a furniture store at 509 Washington Street. After Greer’s death, Meinershagen was joined in business by his son, Julius. In 1943, they purchased residential property at 910 Washington Street from Louis Stein and moved their funeral home business to that location.
The funeral home building was constructed in 1889 by the Leeper family and was later owned by the Wallbrunn family. Stein aquired the property through the Wallbrunn estate. In 1958, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Keeney bought the funeral business, but nine months into their operation, Mr. Keeney died. On June 1, 1959, Mrs. Keeney sold the funeral business to Mr. and Mrs. B.J. “Jack” Lindley of Nevada, Mo. Jack had previously worked for the Runninburger Funeral Home in Harrisonville, Mo., from 1949 to 1951; the Langsford Funeral Home in Lee’s Summit, Mo., from 1951 to 1955, and for the Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada, Mo., from 1955 to 1959. Upon coming to town, Mr. and Mrs. Lindley and their children, Becky, Scott, Bruce and Tim made their residence in the upstairs apartment of the funeral home, where they lived for 17 years. During this time, the Lindleys expanded the business, acquiring and remodeling the Robertson Funeral Homes at Laredo and Chula, Mo., in 1965, and the Austin Funeral Homes at Hale and Tina, Mo., in 1968. In the spring of 1974, J. Scott Lindley returned to Chillicothe, Mo. to become a partner in the firm. He was joined by Bruce, Tim and Becky Lindley who all have taken active roles in the business over the past several years.
To modernize the funeral establishment and to better serve the community’s needs, the existing structure at 910 Washington Street was demolished and a new facility was completed and dedicated in October 1976. In 1982, the Lindley family made a commitment to the Ludlow area and built a new facility in that location. The Lindley Family also purchased records, inventory and pre-arrangement accounts of the Leipard Funeral Home at Mendon, Mo., and further expanded their business by purchasing Resthaven Memorial Gardens Cemetery in January 1990. Lindley Funeral Homes also erected a new facility in Braymer, Mo., in June of that year. The Lindley family continued to serve the surrounding area by obtaining the Pitts Funeral Homes at Braymer and Breckenridge, Mo., in August 2001. Their most recent acquisition was the purchase of the Norman-Wagy-Gordon Funeral Home in Chillicothe, Mo. On Oct. 22, 2001, B.J. Lindley celebrated 50 years as a licensed funeral director and was honored by the Missouri Funeral Directors Association at their annual convention in June of that year.
Today, the Lindley Funeral Home employs over 35 local residents and serves the community and the surrounding area with more than 12 licensed employees with a combined 350-plus years of experience. Included in these employees are a third generation of Lindley's; Deborah and Scott's children, Chris, Candace, Carter, and Connor.