History of the Geiple Funeral Home, Inc.
George W. Geiple, began the family business of manufacturing and selling furniture in Glen Rock, PA in 1880. He was a cabinetmaker by trade. It was in late 1880, when went into partnership with Thomas L. Kinzer in the business of selling and manufacturing furniture as Kinzer & Geiple. In September of 1881 the partners dissolved the partnership and each remained in business in Glen Rock.
It was about this time that G.W. Geiple made his first recorded sale of a coffin or casket. Since he was a cabinetmaker, many times, these craftsmen would manufacture the casket and provide very basic services for the families that had purchased these products from them. Therefore it was also around this time that he became interested in the undertaking business.
According to the late Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter, a retired history professor at Gettysburg College, who wrote in the "Brief History of Glen Rock", "Undertaking is a service, which grew from cabinetmaking. In the later part of the nineteenth century the two were completely separate only in the larger cities of the country. Dise and Brother, cabinetmakers, advertised that they furnished "Coffins and Burial Cases of every kind.. at short notice." After his brother left the firm, Uriah S. Dise carried on the business, but abandoned undertaking during the 1880's. In 1883, George W. Geiple and Allen Moessinger announced that in the "Item" [A local Glen Rock newspaper] that they had recently formed a partnership to engage in undertaking and that they "completed their outfit and are now prepared to fill all orders which may be given them." Hartman and Hoshour [A local carriage maker] built for them what the "Item" described as the "the finest hearse Glen Rock has ever had." The partnership dissolved within a few weeks, when Mossinger left to pursue other work. Geiple continued the business. This was the time also when the old method of preserving a corpse until burial by the use of ice was being replaced by embalming, and in 1889 Geiple began advertising that he had kept up with the times by securing a full set of embalming instruments."
During the years from 1881 to 1891, Geiple sold several coffins a year. There is no record of him charging anything for the associated services or "placing the body in ice". All ledger entries from 1881 to 1907 record only the coffins.
It was also during this time that he located the business at several locations in Glen Rock. The first known location was on the East Side of Water Street, near the railroad tracks [current location of the Glen Rock Ambulance Building] Then from 1884 to 1894 in the first block of Church Street. With the growth of his business in 1894 he moved to a larger location on the West Side of Water Street, known as the Geiple Building and more recently the Lau Building. [across street from Ambulance Club Bldg.] This consisted of a large showroom area, workshop and stable. The business was located at that location until 1928 when the business was moved to its current main street location.
It was in August of 1892, that G.W. had training for doing embalming. He attended Clarke's School of Embalming in Baltimore, receiving a diploma from this school on August 19,1892. Geiple also branched out his business to the Seven Valleys area, going into partnership with Ammon Koller. The partnership of Geiple & Koller consisted of furniture and "Undertaking A Specialty". According to an advertisement in the 1893 edition of the Glen Rock Item, "Undertaking a specialty which will be done by Mr. Geiple. Embalming free of charge." This partnership continued until around 1899. During the eight years of this partnership, Geiple continued to operate his business in Glen Rock.
It was not until the early 1900's that funeral directors needed licenses to practice in the Commonwealth. G. W. received his Pennsylvania State Board of Undertakers License on April 10, 1906. It was also the time when his son Harry C. Geiple became interested in taking up the ''family trade". Harry attended the Clarke's School of Embalming in Harrisburg and received his diploma from the school on September 5, 1905. However, it seems the Commonwealth required more education for licensing, because Harry also attended the Elkels College of Embalming and Sanitary Service in Philadelphia. He graduated from Eckles on March 15, 1911 and received his Pennsylvania license on the same date. With the addition of his son to the business, the name of the firm became G. W. Geiple and Son in 1911.
During the G. W. Geiple and Son years of the business, several changes took place with in the business. Instead of making furniture, they purchased furniture from manufacturers, instead of a horse drawing hearse, a motorized hearse was purchased and they decided to expand the business to a new location. In 1907, the firm received a new horse drawn hearse, which is still in the Geiple Family. This hearse was used from 1908 until the delivery of the first motorized hearse in 1918. This first motorized hearse was delivered to Geiple on September 20, 1918. It was a Utility Car Company hearse and was purchased for $1900.00 plus 3% U.S. War Tax of $57.00 for a total of $1957.00. The Horse Drawn Hearse is shown here was during the Glen Rock Sesquicentennial Parade in June 2010.
Around the year 1923, the Geiple's took over the business furniture and undertaking business of G. F. W. Miller, in Glenville. Mr. Miller who it is said retired and this was a friend of G. W. and had received his Pennsylvania license on the same day as G. W. of April 10, 1906.
The major event of the G. W. Geiple and Son years was the purchase of the Hotel Glen [a.k.a. as the Cold Spring Hotel] property on Main Street in Glen Rock, by the Geiples. This was listed at the time as the "biggest real estate deal in recent history or perhaps in the history of the town." This new building was 100' x 60' with the furniture display area and garage to the north end and a modern funeral home with chapel area, morgue and display room on the southern end of the building.
This venture in building the new building also created a few problems between father and son for a short while. It has been said that when working on the plans for the building, G. W. wanted to use most of the building for furniture and have only a morgue and funeral merchandise display room allotted to the funeral home operation. However, Harry wanted to have a funeral chapel area built in the building also. Up until this time, embalming was done at the deceased residence and not in a special area at the funeral home. Funeral services were also conducted at the residence and/or at a church. Therefore G. W. felt that this was not practical to use space in the building for a funeral chapel. Harry on the other hand, felt that his generation wanted to get away from the house funerals and for health reasons wanted the remains removed from the house after death and embalmed at the funeral home. In the end Harry won out and a small funeral chapel was incorporated in the building.
Harry's son George Eugene Geiple became interested in the business and attended Gettysburg College and Eckles College of Embalming in Philadelphia, graduating on May 27, 1939. He took his apprenticeship with his father and received his Pennsylvania Funeral Director License on January 12, 1942.
Following the death of G. W. Geiple in 1941, and upon the return of his son George Eugene after a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the name of the business changed to H.C. Geiple and Son. During this era, other things in the funeral business changed also. Up until the 1940's, Geiple sold many five piece slate graveliners (burial vault) and serviced these "outer burial containers" at the cemetery. This meant that the funeral home would deliver the slate slabs to the cemetery, place them in the grave and put up a tent, prior to the funeral service and burial. However, during the 1940's a local man started to make concrete outer burial containers and also began to service these at the cemetery. This took away the burden of vault servicing from the funeral home to an outside concern. Also with less services being conducted from the home, Harry and Eugene decided the time had come to expand the funeral chapel area of the funeral home. So in 1955, in time for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the firm, a large addition was added to the property. This provided a large chapel area for 100 people and the older funeral home area was remodeled and provided a separate chapel area for another viewing or seating for an additional 50 people. Also, a large morgue and casket display room were added on the second floor, with a five car garage in the basement area.
On August 30, 1975, George Eugene's son, Glenn E. Geiple graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, becoming the 4th generation of funeral directors in the Geiple Family. He received his license from the State Board on January 3, 1977.
Following the death of Harry C. Geiple in 1979, it was decided that the business be incorporated. On August 27, 1982, the firm became known as Geiple Funeral Home, Inc. and became a separate business from the furniture side of the firm. [Note Geiple Furniture continued to operate the same location until closing in November 1993.]
Geiple's developed working relationship with John D. Jackson of the Jackson Funeral Home, Inc. on East Market Street in York and in 1985 purchased the corporate stock of the Jackson Funeral Home, Inc. from John D. Jackson and merged the business as a branch of the Geiple Funeral Home, Inc. This business became known as the John D. Jackson Funeral Home, Branch of Geiple Funeral Home, Inc. and had been located at 1205 East Market Street in York. The branch operated at that location from January of 1986 until December of 1990, when the branch location was closed and all business moved to the Glen Rock location.
With George Eugene's health failing Glenn E. purchased the corporate stock from him on January 4, 1992. He continues to operate the Geiple Funeral Home, Inc. in Glen Rock and celebrated the 137th anniversary of the business in 2017.
In May 2012, Megan Harbold Mellinger, began her intership at the funeral home and became a PA Licenced funeral director the following year.
The Geiple Funeral Home, Inc. is the oldest continually operated funeral home owned by the same family in the York County area. We serve families in the southern York County area, Hanover area, and the greater York area of all faiths and also provide services for many of the Hebrew families in the York County area.
We offer caskets in our selection room and have access to over 1000 caskets from several manufactures including Matthews/York Casket Company, and Schyukill Haven Casket Company. We offer Mason Dixon Triguard Burial Vaults and Wilbert Burial Vaults and carry a complete selection of Cremation Urns from Superior, Kelco, Batesville and York/Matthews.
For more information please contact us.