Funeral home under new ownership
After more than 50 years with the Johnson family, the Wadena funeral home service is under new ownership.
Joe and Meg Schuller took over Johnson Memorial Home May 31 from retiring Jon and Henry Johnson.
The new Schuller Family Funeral Home ownership includes the Johnson Memorial Home in Verndale and Domian-Anderson Funeral Home in Bertha as well as Johnson Memorial Home in Wadena.
Joe Schuller had worked for the Johnsons since 1995, and the brothers asked Schuller if he wanted to buy it.
The Schullers also lived above the funeral home in Bertha for many years.
Meg Schuller teaches English at the Bertha-Hewitt school system, but previously she was a stay-at-home mom and helped with answering phones, cleaning and gardening.
She said their kids grew up around the Johnsons, and their families have known each other for a long time.
Office manager and family assistant Bev Komula has worked with Johnson Memorial Home nearly five years.
"Most of the time I'm here in the office, and I get to meet with the families and help them create the obituaries for their loved one," Komula said. "I get to create the video tributes that we put on our website and share at the visitations."
She said it is an honor to help the families in a difficult time.
"She keeps track of everything, does a great job," Meg Schuller said.
Joe Schuller said any changes would be subtle and gradual.
"With the exception of Jon and Henry retiring, our staffing is remaining the same," he said. "The Johnsons have created a very good business, and we're hoping to continue that tradition."
He said since he started working for Johnson Memorial Home in the 1990s, there have been changes in how they can do business. With technology and computers, they can provide services they could not provide before, such as being available with cell phones and pagers.
"Technology has really driven, in a positive way, the services that we do provide to families," Joe Schuller said.
He said they will continue to maintain the Johnson Memorial Home website and the Domian-Anderson website.
Johnson Memorial Home has a long history in the area.
The funeral home in Wadena was established in the 1890s, and the Schullers are the fourth family to own and operate it.
Jon and Henry Johnson took ownership of the funeral homes from their father, Jerry, in 1982.
Before that, Jerry Johnson and Albert Messer took ownership of the funeral home in 1960.
In 2007, Jon and Henry Johnson also bought the Bielema Family Funeral Home of Wadena and Verndale from the retiring Alan Bielema.