News: Loyal Locals - Myre Funeral Home (Feb - 1974)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Myre, LaFollette, Diemer, Zepplin, Johnston, Oestreich, Roycraft, Brussow, Luepke, Bacon

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 2/14/1974

Myre Funeral Home (14 February 1974)

Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)

Many people travel and live in different towns and cities throughout the country before they find that one certain place where they wish to call “their home.” Carl Myre of Loyal just happens to be one of those people.

Born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Myre attended both grade school and high school in that area and, following his graduation, he served his apprenticeship in mortuary science at the Morris Funeral Home for the next two years. He later graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science – Milwaukee. Moving on to Ladysmith for the next few months, Myre was called back to the Morris Funeral Home and continued there for the remainder of the business’s existence.

Recalling the first funeral he had complete supervision of, Myre states “the funeral was that of a former Secretary of State of Wisconsin and since it was a funeral where many dignitaries were present, it was a challenge and in the conclusion, it turned out to be what was expected. I do recall that one of the special dignitaries who did attend the funeral was Governor Robert LaFollette.”

After leaving the Morris Funeral Home, he moved on to Luxemburg, Wis. And remained there until the war. Drafted into the Army, Myre worked as a supply sergeant in different parts of Europe during his three-year tour. “I was the only person that I know of who lived in Luxemburg at the beginning of the war and at the end of the war,” Myre stated with a smile, “but one was in Wisconsin and the other in Germany.” Coming back to the state in 1945, he moved his wife, Ethel, and girls Roseann, and Carol to the village of Loyal.

Reflecting on his family for a moment, Myre states that he had met his wife, Ethel in a morgue in Chippewa. “Ethel was a R.N. at the Hospital of the Northern Wisconsin Colony and Training School in the city, and being the local funeral director, I had to go to the school and pick up a deceased person, Ethel happened to be the nurse who was working at that time. It seems that people meet their partner in different places, and Ethel’s and my meeting just happened to be in a morgue.” Ethel is the former Ethel Diemer.

“As for my children, it was rather strange to be in the service and know that the children are growing up without you there, but it just happened that way, and coming home to see a child that was born six weeks after you had left, and not seeing her until she was three years old is kind of a unique feeling.” Myre is referring to his second oldest daughter, Carol, who now resides in Reedsburg.

Coming to the Loyal area in December of 1945, the purchasing of the funeral home was made by Myre. The funeral home at that time was the Mills Shoe Store of today. “We had to right the present-day funeral home, and at the time it was a home and so we had to remodel the entire house and make necessary changes to fit the required needs. In remodeling the home, we had to remove 19 partitions to fit the needs.” states Myre.

“Funerals have changed a great deal since I first became involved in the business,” reflects Myre, “Funerals used to be more of a community doing and now it seems they have turned into a family affair. People were more sympathetic than they are today, and the showing of feelings was stronger also. I recall the funerals when neighbors would bring homegrown flowers to the visitations, and now it is all florist. Visitations were held in the homes for two nights, with the relatives or neighbors sitting up all night with the body. The entire funeral process has changed tremendously since the first funeral I conducted.

“Taking the body to a home created several problems, and I recall when we had to take doors off and move windows to get the casket into the home.

“Having the funerals in the homes did prevent the need for a large funeral home, for the services were either conducted at the home or the church,” reflects Myre.

“other changes that have occurred were things like the caskets, which were only brown or gray, and the vaults that are used,” remarked Myre. “Vaults used to be referred to as “rough” boxes, for they were of wood, but today concrete is used and had been since after the war. We also used to dig the burial lot with dynamite, and today it is done by air pressure equipment.”

After moving into the Loyal area, Myre became acquainted with the fact that the local funeral director was also the ambulance driver. “I never had heard of the two being as one, but it was something that was expected of me and so it was done. We used the hearse to drive the people to the hospital, which was not equipped with any medical devices. I had the help of Byron Zepplin, Neil Johnston, and Lothar Oestreich, which was of great help.

I also had the assistance of area funeral directors when it came to be gone on the weekend or a day, for someone had to be available in case of a death or the need of the ambulance. Mr. Swarthout of Spencer cooperated in helping me when I needed assistance.

The cost of funerals was discussed, with Myre recalling that prices do vary a great deal. “I recall that the government would allow a cost of $65 for a funeral, and the price has passed the $375 mark today.”

Besides operating the funeral home, Myre has also been involved in local government. When the Village of Loyal was made into a city, Myre was the first alderman from the third ward and served as treasurer for the city, serving in that capacity until he sold the funeral home. He had also been active in the area Rotary Club for 24 years, serving as president for a term, and served as financial secretary for Trinity Lutheran Church of Loyal.

In 1969, the funeral home was sold to Richard Roycraft, with Myre moving to Wausau to work with the 3M Company. “We lived in Wausau for a year and decided to come back to the city of Loyal. We missed the people that we had associated with for so many years and decided to make Loyal our home – for good,” remarked Myre.

Moving back to Loyal, he built the local liquor store and later sold it to the present owner. Now Myre is Medford Branch Manager of the Haertel Monument Service, serving Clark, Taylor, Price, and parts of Marathon County. “I enjoy my business a great deal or it gives me the chance to visit with people and do some country raveling,” states Myre.

Besides his work, Myre also enjoys traveling, and golfing, and visiting with people.

Carl and his wife Ethel have four children, Mrs. Tom (Roseann) Brussow of Loyal, Mrs. Walter (Carol) Luepke of Reedsburg, Mrs. Tom (Nancy) Bacon of Thorp, and David residing in Rice Lake. Ethel is presently working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.

For Carl Myre, Loyal, is the place which he calls “his home,” he has worked at different locations and at different occupations, but wherever he went, he always found himself coming back and working and living in the growing city in central Clark County – Loyal.



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