The Goertz Furniture Store and Funeral Home in Hillsboro, Kansas was established in 1887 and the funeral home (now Jost Funeral Home) has been in constant operation since then. The limestone building at 121 N. Main, which housed the furniture store, was constructed by David Bushman. Mr. Bushman was a cousin of H. N. Goertz who went to work in the store in 1894 at the age of 14 and made this his lifetime occupation for the next 81 years. His brother Dave worked for him until 1946. H. N. purchased the business from Bushman in 1909 for $7200. In the early 1900’s Marion County had a population of more than 22,000 and many of the farmers came to town with their hayracks to take home whatever furniture and other purchases they made.
During the years before World War I items sold included school books, musical instruments (swinettes), sewing machines, phonographs, clocks, bicycles, pictures and paint. Interestingly paint was mixed in those days also. The pigments (sienne Venitian red, ochre, etc) were stocked in powdered form, mixed with linseed oil and turpentine from 55-gallon barrels and put into various containers so you would have barn red, buff house paints.
Funerals in the late 1890’s were very simple. A pine box was built and black horse drawn hearse and teams were used.
The body was made ready in the home and left there for a family service before going to the church. Caskets were displayed on the second floor of the furniture store. The caskets were carried up a flight of stairs (27 steps) via an outside entrance in the front of the building. Embalming was done in the home or in the furniture store, usually after 6:00 pm, and then ice was used for further preservation. Since many funerals were held on Sunday, even if the person died the Sunday before, a lot of ice was sold for this purpose.
In 1940, Kansas State regulations were changed and having a combination business with mortuary work in the same building was discontinued. At that time, Norton Goertz had joined his father in the business and property was purchased at 401 S. Washington where the present Jost Funeral Home is located. Abe Klassen contracted to tear down the large 2-story Dalke house on that location and stacked up the usable lumber at a cost of $85. Work on the funeral home then began with the head carpenter receiving 40 cents per hour. In 1972 an addition was made to the building giving a larger chapel seating area.
JOST FUNERAL HOME TODAY
Jost Funeral home is a family owned business that has been in continuous operation since 1887. Jared Jost purchased the funeral home shortly after graduating from Kansas City, Kansas Community College School of Mortuary Science. In 2003 Jared married Julia Schroeder and they have three children, Moriah, Adam and Ethan. Jared’s roots have been in the Hillsboro community since 1874 when his ancestors immigrated to this area. He is the owner/funeral director/mortician and is assisted by Willie Ensz, Loren Funk, and Betty Seibel, office secretary.
At Jost Funeral Home we work together with the family and the local church (all faiths) to provide compassionate care and to plan memorial services that truly and uniquely reflect the individual’s life. We are a full service funeral home, offering a large selection of caskets, vaults, urns, and monuments. We also offer pre-planning so that you can make your own arrangements and thus provide comfort and security to the loved ones you leave behind. We offer guaranteed, non-guaranteed, revocable, and irrevocable plans that can fit your family’s needs, while lessening emotional and financial stress. We are pleased to serve you with advanced funeral planning at your convenience in our office or in your home. We pride ourselves with providing the highest standards of care and comfort.