Elizabeth and William Hempel had met as students at Kent State University where both were studying business.
Married in 1959, the Hempels moved to Pittsburgh so he could enroll in the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. They returned to South Euclid so William could serve a 12-month apprenticeship as a funeral director and embalmer with a Cleveland firm.
He remained there for several years and the young couple began planning for their own future. They visited dozens of Ohio communities where business owners were interested in selling. Several opportunities were appealing in terms of size and financial stability. However, other factors were even more important, such as the towns ability to provide a healthy environment to raise their family in. The Hempels set their sights on a smaller business in Amherst.
Our home was purchased from Irving and Jeanette Emmerich who had opened their doors in 1947. William Hempel was only 27 years old when the funeral home was acquired.
The young family moved into the apartment above of the funeral home, then a 50-year-old double house which the Emmerich's had converted into the business.
Visitors can still see the outside siding, windows and doors of the original home (which is now over 90 years old) in the grand hallway of the funeral parlor where guests are greeted.
The Hempels struggled in the beginning like all new business owners do. From running the ambulance service to washing windows, caring for the lawns, the building and the clients, it was all personaly taken care of.
As time has passed and relationships with families of Lorain County have grown so has their business. With Gods blessing and a commitment to excellence the business has conducted over 4,400 funerals, tripling its annual size. In 1987 their son Eric and his wife Deborah joined them in the tradition of caring for the families of Amherst. Their daughter Heidi married locally Steve Morrow and they chose to make Amherst their residence as well.
Bill and Betty have slowed down their engagement with the funeral home and leave the management to their son and the amazing staff at the funeral home. They prefer these days to spend their time enjoying extended family; particularly their four grandsons who have become their new passion in life.