Archive for Thursday, July 7, 2005

Tonganoxie home a family operation

July 7, 2005

The funeral home business is starting to resemble farming, area funeral home directors say. Large corporations are finding that there's a dollar to be made in the business and it's putting the squeeze on smaller, family-run operations.

No matter, says Calvin Quisenberry, owner of the Quisenberry Funeral Home in Tonganoxie. 100 years and four generations of family members later, his business still puts the same emphasis -- providing a caring, personal touch -- before it does profit margins.

"It's what we've always done," Quisenberry said. "Seven days a week, weekends and holidays, 24 hours a day . . . That makes a big difference. That's what have is personal service."

The Quisenberry Funeral Home has been in the family since Calvin's great grandfather, Henry Metz, served dual roles as a grocer and undertaker. In 1946, Calvin's father, a funeral home director in Kansas City, Kan., bought the funeral home in Tonganoxie.

The business at Fourth and Delaware, a hallmark of Tonganoxie's business community, has been in the family ever since. And, a new generation of Quisenberrys are being groomed for the future.

Calvin's children, Brian, 24, and Heather, 22, have begun working at the funeral home in the last year.

Despite looming pressures from corporate America, the Quisenberrys are intent on staying in the only business they know.

"Yeah, we're going to be here quite a while," Quisenberry said. "It doesn't have to be like a new McDonald's. People want it to feel like a home."

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