History

Henry Gass Sr.
Henry Gass Sr.
Founder Henry Gass Sr., was born May 13, 1844, in Canton Basel, Switzerland. He came to the United States in 1866. He lived a short time in Illinois and Pennsylvania where he was employed in a furniture store, and in 1870 moved to Columbus, Nebraska, where he made his home. Henry had four children - Henry Jr., Samuel, Rose, and Augusta. He made furniture and coffins in his shop on 7th Street by hand, and offered funeral services. At the time the population of Columbus was about 200. As his business grew it required more space and in 1871 he built a shop on what was then known as Washington Ave. (now 21st. Ave.). This later became the location of the family home and still stands today and is located on 21st. Ave., between 9th and 10th Street.


As the population of Columbus continued to grow, so did his business and in 1878 he moved his business to a building located across from Glur's Tavern on 23rd Ave. between 10th and 11th Street. It was here that Henry put in his first complete line of factory made furniture. Due to a fire in the early part of 1900, the business was forced to take up temporary head quarters in a building on 11th Street between 25th and 26th Ave. while a new location was being built on 13th Street between 24th and 25th Avenue. The new building completed in 1903 was designed with the latest improvements in the funeral home industry including the capability of displaying caskets in the back of the store by means of "pull out drawers". The new store still had a shop for the manufacture and assembly of handmade caskets. With the completion of the new building, arterial embalming at the funeral home was done on a more regular basis which had previously been done in the family home.

Henry Gass Jr.
Henry Gass Jr.
Engaged in the funeral and furniture business with Henry Gass Sr., were his two sons, Samuel and Henry Gass Jr. Henry Gass Sr. managed the business until 1907 and in 1922 sold to his sons. In August of 1923 Samuel took over the total operation of the furniture store while Henry Jr. started construction of a new funeral home at 1263-25th Avenue. In 1924 the funeral home was completed and in February of 1925 the entire funeral business was moved to the new location. Henry Sr. passed away on November 26, 1926.




This new funeral home still had a shop for the construction of caskets which continued until the 1930's, a display area for factory built caskets, and a display area for casket components if the casket was to be built in house. It also had an office, chapel, and preparation room. As time passed and the need for the home made caskets diminished, several renovations of the building took place and the shop and component display rooms were converted to a family room for the chapel and a visitation room.

Marjorie (Gass) Haney
Marjorie (Gass) Haney
William Haney
William Haney
Christie Gass a cousin of Henry's was associated in the funeral business from August 1929 until her death in April 1940. Henry Gass Jr. died in December 1951 and Marjorie (Henry's daughter) and her husband William Haney, who had worked for the funeral home since 1940, purchased the funeral home from the Henry Gass Estate. In July of 1952, William passed away unexpectedly, and Marjorie operated the funeral home until 1960.

Stephen Haney
Steve Haney
At the early age of 15, Stephen Haney (William and Marjorie's son) began helping his mother at the funeral home. After graduating from mortuary school in Minnesota in 1959, Steve began working at the funeral home and in 1960 purchased his mothers interest in the business so she could begin a gradual process of retirement which she completed in 1969. In 1978 it became apparent that a change of location was needed so plans for a new modern funeral home began. On July 1, 1981, ground breaking took place on the lots located between 21st Ave. and 22nd Ave. on 14th Street. The new building was completed on December 1, 1981 and opened for service on December 8, 1981.

In the early 1990's Steve sold the business to ECI (Equity Corporation International). In January, 1999, ECI was purchased by SCI (Service Corporation International). In August, 2006, Brad Ramaekers and Gary Sharman (both employees of the funeral home) purchased the business from SCI. Steve retired in 2008 due to health issues and passed away on November 22, 2010.
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