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Jay County Newspaper Articles


Clipping from The Muncie Star, January 19, 1975

Jones Mortuary
Oldest Firm in Redkey in Operation Since 1886

Redkey - Jones Mortuary is Redkey's oldest business firm to be under continuous operation by the same family.  The firm was established in 1886 by William R. Jones, great-great-grandfather of the youngest member now associated with the firm, Don Jones.

The Jones Mortuaries, located in Dunkirk and Redkey, are operated by Howard Jones, grandson of the founder; Bill Jones, great grandson of the first Jones in business here, and Don, Bill's son.

Bill Jones describes his great-grandfather as "sort of a horse trader".  The trade William R. Jones made in securing the "undertaking parlor" in Redkey was not actually a horse, it was a carpenter shop, caskets were made, in Francisville, where Jones resided in 1886.  (NOTE:  I KNOW THIS IS A STRANGE SENTENCE BUT I TYPED IT EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS)

After the trade was made, Jones sent his son, Gilford Jones, to Redkey to manage the business.  It is recalled by the family that "Gilf Jones did not do any of the work connected with preparing bodies for burial, which at the time did not include embalming".  He hired people for this part of the work, while he sold caskets to families and took care of financial operations of the firm.  The caskets were made in an adjoining building to the undertaking parlor.

Around 1890, the block in which the undertaking parlor was located on South Meridian Street, where the firm still stands, was burned out. The buildings were mostly replaced with brick structures which carry the dates 1892 on the fronts.

When Howard, son of Gilf, was old enough he secured his mortician's license and joined the firm.  Also Howard's late wife, Tyrah, was a licensed mortician.  The two had the first licenses in the family, although two generations had preceded them in the business.

Adjoining the undertaking parlor was another Jones operated firm, a hardware store, managed by Charles Jones.  The firms at the time were under the name of W.R. Jones and Sons. Around 1920, the businesses were divided, with Charles keeping the hardware store, and Gilf and son, Howard, assuming ownership of the funeral home and furniture business.  The firm name was change to Gilf H. Jones and Son.
Bill Jones joined the firm in 1947, and he and his wife, Donna, along with their son, Don, are licensed embalmers.
In 1937, the Jones Mortuary in Redkey was remodeled and one section was used as a funeral home and the other part as a furniture store.  During the past year the furniture business was discontinued and the mortuary expanded into the rooms formerly occupied by the furniture business.
The firm now has one large chapel room, two visitation rooms, a family lounge, new offices and the display room, which was moved from an upstairs location.
In addition to the extensive remodeling of the building, two buildings adjacent to the south of the mortuary were purchased from Darrell and Wilma Lucas.  These buildings were razed to build a parking lot approximately 60 feet wide and 100 feet deep.
Also, additional parking space was purchased back of the mortuary across an alley.  The house on this property, formerly owned by Charles Booth, will be demolished.

The exterior of the mortuary has undergone a face-lifting with the installation of aluminum sheeting on the second floor levels and decorative stone on the street level..

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