Who We Are : Our Story

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Our Story

Bartley Funeral Home For over 150 years, we have had a proud tradition of service - a tradition that is based on our directors, to whom the smallest detail is both an art and a lifelong study. We would like to share with you our pride in that heritage of five generations as a Family of Funeral Directors. Our story is a long one, filled with people who have dedicated their lives to serving the families of this community. We dedicate our story to our patrons and friends, and we assure you that every single day, we renew our pledge to provide the finest services possible. William Rutledge, founder of the business which is known now as the Bartley Funeral Home, began his work in a farm house east of Augusta in 1850. When he was just 21 years old, he came to Minerva and worked for three years for his board as an apprentice to a cabinet-maker and undertaker.The importance of his unique services to the community are little realized and understood today. Mr. Rutledge could determine the size of a coffin for a deceased person by means of a long stick of wood brought to him by a bereaved person. The length of the stick corresponded to the height of the deceased and a notch on the side indicated the width of the coffin. He and his wife Harriet often tested the coffins themselves. The two were expert coffin-trimmers. In 1864, they quit masking coffins when the Hamilton, Lemon, Arnold and Co. began manufacturing coffins and caskets. However, the concern only supplied the shell, which still left the trimming task for Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge. Coffins were finished with a varnish coating while caskets were cloth-covered. The cost of a funeral with one of the cloth-covered caskets - the finest of that period - was sixty dollars. Comparatively, the cost of a funeral with a coffin from Mr. Rutledge made in 1897 was thirty-five dollars. Always progressive, Mr. Rutledge built the first hearse that his business owned. In every way, he helped advance the funeral profession to its high standards of today. John Rutledge saw his profession progress from the early days of crude methods. He saw the process using sod and salt. A layer of heavy sod with the dirt side up was put on boards. Then, four inches of salt was sprinkled on the dirt upon which the body (which was covered with a sheet) was placed.Next, he saw the "ice box" come into use. It was a tin-lined box with an opening for water to run out. A coffin made of tin fit into the box with enough space allowed between the coffin and box to pack the ice. The process took about 500 pounds of ice. A lid was screwed tightly onto the coffin and on the day of the funeral, the body was taken out of the box, dressed, and put in the coffin. Burial immediately followed. Mr. Rutledge was glad when the day of the "ice box" had passed. In 1887, John Rutledge directed his first funeral when a new era in embalming was getting underway. The first process was cavity embalming, which proved unsuccessful. Then, arterial and cavity embalming were combined to form the process still used today (although that process has seen many new developments). Arthur B. Jackson was the third person who figured in the development of the Rutledge-Jackson Funeral Home. Mr. Jackson came to Minerva in 1923 to be associated with his father-in-law, John Rutledge, in forming the Rutledge-Jackson Funeral Home. He was born in Cambridge in 1898, and he graduated from the Koester School of Window Trimming and Show Card Writing in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating, he worked with the S.A. Craig and Son Department Store in Cambridge as advertising manager. He was a student of the International Correspondence School from 1915 to 1918.He then took a position with a firm in Alliance, the Spring-Holzworth Co. While working there, he met the former Ogaritta Rutledge, who was attending the Conservatory of Music at Mt. Union College. After graduating from the Columbus School of Embalming at Ohio State University in Columbus, Mr. Jackson and Miss Rutledge were married in 1923. The couple then moved to Minerva, where Mr. Jackson became an associate with his father-in-law in their funeral-directing business. Two daughters, Miss Leatrice Ann, an English teacher at Minerva High School, and Mrs. Leroy G. Bartley (Marilyn Rose Jackson) were born to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. Mr. Jackson suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in December of 1947. On October 15, 1949, he was stricken again and passed away four days later. A very active career had come to an abrupt close at the age of 51. In Minerva, Mr. Jackson worked industriously in civic events and organizations. He was a member of the Minerva Community Association, a charter member of the Lions Club, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Leroy G. Bartley graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in September of 1949 with high honors. Prior to his entering school, he served his apprenticeship with the Rutledge-Jackson Funeral Home. In July 1949, he received his Funeral Directors license and four months later, his Embalmers license.He served five years in the Army Medical Corps during the Second World War. He spent over three years in the China-Burma-India Theater of war. Mr. Bartley was married to Marilyn Rose Jackson, daughter of Mrs. Arthur B. Jackson, in June of 1949. He was associated with his father-in-law, the late Mr. Jackson, as a junior member of the Rutledge-Jackson Funeral Home. In October 1949, he became manager of the funeral home. An active member of the community, Roy is a member of the Community Association and the Minerva United Methodist Church. He has served as president of the Rotary Club, and as Chairman of the Minerva Red Cross Chapter. In that capacity, he worked to bring the first Bloodmobile to Minerva. His avocations of flying and scuba diving brought an association with the Minerva Pilots Association and the development of the Minerva Airport, as well as the founding of the Minerva Auxiliary Police and SCUBA Team with which he still holds the position of Diving Officer. Marilyn Rose Bartley received her license in 1953. She served her two-year apprenticeship under her grandfather John Rutledge and her husband Roy. In 1960, Roy and Marilyn purchased the Rutledge-Jackson Funeral Home from Marilyn’s mother, Mrs. A.B. Jackson. The law in the state of Ohio at that time would not allow the addition of the Bartley name to the name of a deceased funeral director, so the firm was renamed to the Bartley Funeral Home. Roger Bartley, a lifelong resident of Minerva, is a fifth generation funeral director working with his family's firm in Minerva and Malvern. In 1976, he became the area's first paramedic and helped organize the advanced life support EMS system which still serves Minerva. Roger is a graduate of Minerva High School, Mount Union College, and of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he received a Master of Arts degree. While in college, he was heavily involved in the evolution of the college radio station that became WRMU-FM. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict. He is a member of American Legion Post 357. Roger lives in Minerva with his wife Sherry; they have three grown sons.In our community, Roger published the Minerva Bicentennial History Book, served as President of both the Minerva and Malvern Rotary Club, and is currently Vice-President of the Minerva Public Library Board of Trustees. He has been active with the Boy Scouts and the American Red Cross, serving as Safety Programs Chairman for several years.Roger has also worked as a newspaper journalist, a radio/television producer, and a development officer in the university and private school setting. An avid writer, he has written for local, national, and international media. He is a Charter Member of the Carroll County Commission for the Advancement of Arts, a member of the Board of Trustees, and the Writers' Group.Roger produced the documentary, "Changing American Funeral Traditions," which aired on The Family Channel, and appeared as a guest on the "700 Club" to discuss funeral service trends. He has been published in the Saturday Evening Post, Focus literary magazine, Carroll County Collage, The Vincent Brothers Review, and won the First Prize for Professional Drama in the Methacton Community Writing Contest. Deckman-Bartley Funeral Home The story of our Malvern location, Deckman-Bartley Funeral Home, begins in Prussia in 1833. That year, Solomon Charles and Wilhelmina (Miller) Deckman gave birth to the second of their eleven children, George Deckman. The Deckmans came to America three years later and settled in Philadelphia, where Solomon was a shoemaker. George was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia until he was 16 years old; he was then bound out to serve an apprenticeship for five years at wood, bone, and ivory turning. In 1854, he shipped before the mast on the United States man-of-war, "Independence." His travels took him through the Pacific Ocean, and after serving for three years and four months, George was honorably discharged. Upon his return to Philadelphia, George discovered that his parents had moved to Ohio. Later that year, he married Mary B. Young of Stark County, Ohio. George and Mary followed, and they eventually settled in Minerva in 1859. In 1861, he established himself in the manufacture of furniture, and he moved to Malvern the following year. In Malvern, George erected buildings, employed eleven, and produced every variety of furniture, including coffins. Then, in May of 1964, George enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Fifty-seventh O.V.I.; he was stationed at Fort Delaware where he performed guard duty. Upon his return from the army, he successfully resumed his business of furniture manufacturing. George and Mary had eight children - five sons and three daughters. In 1867, George and Mary gave birth to the third of their five sons, Stephen. Stephen gained his early education in the public schools of Malvern, and he worked in his father's furniture factory as a youth. He was able to familiarize himself with all departments of the business, and as he grew, he became his father's valued partner in the management of the business. In 1889, Stephen married Emma J. Swisshelm; they had five children. In 1900, Stephen and his father-in-law, John M. Swisshelm, purchased the retail furniture and undertaking business that George Deckman had established. Stephen continued as general manager of the business for several years, and he also maintained a successful undertaking department that, at the time, had the most modern facilities and service. Stephen would travel to the deceased's home, pick up the remains, and take them to a room in the rear of the furniture store where the bodies were embalmed, dressed, and prepared. He would then place them in a casket and bring the casket back to the home for viewing. Clarence Deckman, the fourth of Stephen and Emma Deckman's five children, was educated in the public schools of Malvern. He continued the furniture and undertaking business and eventually passed the business on to his son, Thomas Deckman. The business continued serving the community; in 1993, the Bartley family of Minerva purchased the home. The business was renamed in 1995, and the Deckman-Bartley Funeral Home was created.