History

History

Anderson Funeral Home was not the first funeral business in Rugby, but it has been the community’s longest continuously operated firm.


John E. Anderson
Founder
1878 – 1968


Harold T. Anderson
Second Generation
1905 – 1983


H. Richard Anderson
Third Generation
1936 – 2015

W.J. Holbrook had Rugby’s first funeral business, started in 1890 in conjunction with a furniture store. He sold his business to John E. Anderson on January 1, 1921.

John Anderson was from Racine County, Wisconsin, and homesteaded near Rugby in 1900. It was while driving his matched team of bay horses for Mr. Holbrook at funerals, with the horse-drawn hearse, that John Anderson became interested in the funeral profession. In 1917, Mr. Anderson sold his East End Dairy business and went to Racine, Wisconsin to obtain his embalming license. After he began operation of the business in 1921, it was located in several buildings over the years. The first used exclusively for funerals (in 1926) is the building presently owned by Don Rupp, the H&R Block building on Main Avenue. To serve the community better, a new funeral home was built in 1936 on third street of field stone. That structure is still in use and has been remodeled and expanded over the years. In 1924, John Anderson of Rugby and Nels Erickson of Towner began to work together, using the north portion of the Erickson Hardware store in Towner for a funeral home. At a later date, the business was moved to the location of the Towner Plumbing and Heating.

The funeral home operated the Rugby community ambulance service for many years. When John presented it to the community, it was operated the first year by National Guard Ambulance volunteers, today it is staffed by local volunteers under the direction of the Rugby Emergency Medical Services. 

Harold T. Anderson, a son of John, received his embalmer’s license in 1927 and purchased a furniture store in Maddock and started the Anderson Furniture and Undertaking Company. In February, 1946, Harold purchased his father’s business in Rugby after selling his firm in Maddock. In 1948, he remodeled the existing stone building, adding an apartment complex, a larger garage and a warehouse as well as other improvements.

In 1960, H. Richard Anderson joined his father in the family business. In 1961, Richard and Harold built a new funeral home in Towner, “The Chapel of the Cross”, which is still an integral part of Anderson Funeral Homes. In 1967, Harold retired and sold to Richard, who became the third generation of Andersons to own the local firms. On September 12, 1981, Richard sold the Anderson Funeral Homes to Phillip G. Martin, a native of western Montana. The funeral homes retained the Anderson name and Richard remained on staff until retiring in 2006. In the spring of 1993, a major addition was completed in Rugby, to enable us to better serve our families.

In 1999, Jon M. Stork, a native from northern Iowa, purchased the funeral home from Phillip. A major interior remodeling of the chapel, arrangement room and business office was completed in the summer of 2003, as well as remodeling and redecorating the Towner Chapel. This has allowed the seating capacity to increase to 150 in the Rugby chapel and 80 in the Towner Chapel, while providing a warm and comfortable ambience. It has been with pride and sincerity that the Anderson Funeral Homes have served Rugby and Towner and the surrounding communities for 98 years.





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