Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home – Over The Years!
2019 will mark 90 years in business for the Funeral Home located at 225 W. Monroe Street in New Bremen. The name of the business may have changed over the years from Gilberg & Hegemier to Gilberg Funeral Home, to its present name, Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home, but one thing has not changed – the care and dedication that is given to every family that we serve.
The funeral home had its beginnings back in the early 1920’s when Paul F. Gilberg was working with A.H. Albert Funeral Service of New Bremen during his high school years. In 1924 Mr. Albert helped to finance Paul’s education at the Cincinnati College of Embalming. After Paul had graduated from embalming school, Mr. Albert did not have a position open for him, so Paul found employment with Mr. Irwin Speckman, a local undertaker and merchant also of New Bremen.
In June of 1926, Paul and his friend Earl W. Hegemier joined together, and borrowed $250 from Earl’s father, Fred Hegemier. They drove a Model T Ford to Toledo, and purchased several radios, and brought them home to sell them in New Bremen. This was the beginning of the People’s Radio and Gift Shop. For three years, Paul & Earl operated their business out of a rented a space in the old John Blase building on S. Washington Street (the current location of the Marathon Gas Station). In 1929, Paul and Earl bought the funeral business of A.H. Albert and moved their business to 5-7 N. Main Street, and renamed their business Gilberg & Hegemier. From this location they operated their retail store, as well as managed the funeral and undertaking business. They sold lamps, chairs, radios, refrigerators, wringer washing machines, as well as several caskets, which were stocked in a separate area of the store. The store did not function as a funeral home, because at that time, all funeral business was conducted in the homes of the deceased – including embalming and visitation of the deceased.
In 1937, Gilberg & Hegemier moved the funeral portion of their business to 225 W. Monroe Street (the present location of the Funeral Home). This was Paul’s home, and originally the home of his parents, Fred and Margaret (Rattler) Gilberg. Here the pair operated the funeral business as well as an ambulance service for the New Bremen area for many years. In 1961, after 35 years of business together, Earl Hegemier sold his share of the businesses. This lead to the names of the two businesses to be changed to Gilberg Furniture and Gilberg Funeral Home.
John Gilberg, a son of Paul Gilberg, grew up working with his father in both the funeral home and furniture store. He became more involved in the business after he graduated from high school, and in 1963 graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Together Paul and John operated the furniture store and the funeral home until 1965 when Paul retired. John and his wife Joyce then purchased the businesses and moved their family to live above the funeral home in 1968. John and Joyce operated the two businesses up until the year 2000 when they both retired. At that time two of John and Joyce’s children, Jill (Gilberg) and Joe Borkowski along with James and Diane (Bushman) Gilberg, assumed ownership of Gilberg Furniture. Steven and Diana Hartwig, nephew of John and Joyce, became owners of the funeral home, which is now known as Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home.
James Gilberg (a grandson of Paul Gilberg and son of John and Joyce Gilberg) also grew up working with his father at the funeral home and furniture store. He, too, became more involved with both businesses after graduating from high school, and eventually went on to graduate from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Today he is co-owner of Gilberg Furniture.
Steven Hartwig (a grandson of Paul Gilberg, and nephew of John & Joyce Gilberg) began working at the furniture store and funeral home in 1972 during high school. He became interested in the funeral side of the business, and went on to further his education at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1984. He then joined his grandfather and uncle at the funeral home. Upon John’s retirement in 2000, Steve and his wife Diana moved their family to live above the funeral home in 2001, and their children became the sixth generation of the Gilberg family to live at this location.
In 2008, Keith May joined the family of Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home working part-time. After graduating in June of 2013 from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, he became part of the full-time staff. Keith became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in February of 2015, and is looking forward to helping families in our area for years to come.
Today, the family of the Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home continues the tradition in New Bremen and the surrounding area, and are proud to be able to serve families with the dignity, compassion and professionalism in our modern, yet home-like setting. Our goal is to arrange the type of service to meet the individual needs of each family that we serve. From pre-arrangement of funeral services, to cremation and memorial services, to full-service traditional funerals, our family is here to assist your family through the loss of a loved one, now and for many years to come.