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New Schoeneberger Funeral Home in Perham on target to continue serving families

Funeral directors Hans Larson, left, and Steve Sheets, show off the rock exterior of the new Schoeneberger Funeral Home in Perham. The new facility will open June 1, and offers larger spaces and new technology to better serve customers, Sheets said. 1 / 2
Among the amenities of the new larger Schoeneberger Funeral Home, will be a large fellowship space, which can double as a second chapel for an additional funeral service if needed. Off the fellowship space is a caterer’s kitchen so a lunch can also be served.2 / 2

Construction on the new Schoeneberger Funeral Home in Perham is on schedule and will open at the new location around June 1, according to funeral director Steve Sheets, though a moving date has yet to be determined.

Residents driving on Highway 78 into Perham may have noticed the building on Jake Street, noticed that some of the exterior brick and stone work is nearing completion and that some of the wood siding is up. The green areas still noticeable on the building have yet to be covered with siding.

Interior work is progressing nicely, Sheets said, with all the sheetrock up and some of the painting done. Much of the lighting is installed, the drop-ceiling grids are in place and carpeting was scheduled to be laid this week.

“It’s going to be nice, nothing flashy,” said Hans Larson, funeral director. “The paint colors inside and out are contemporary yet homey.”

The funeral home’s increase in size from about 7,200 square feet to 10,000 square feet will allow for a larger chapel area, a large fellowship hall, a spacious lobby area with a fireplace and a caterer’s kitchen, Sheets said. The new building will also feature additional parking -- going from five off-street spaces at the present location, to 70 at the Jake Street site -- as well as “a lot of new technology.”

For instance, when the chapel fills for large funerals, wall-mounted TV screens will allow people in the fellowship hall and other locations within the funeral home to watch the service, Hans said.

Building a new funeral home has been on the wish list for about eight years, when officials at St. Henry’s Catholic Church and the school were considering starting a preschool. Over the years, for one reason or another the timing wasn’t right and both the school and the funeral home put plans on hold.

Last year, it was determined the funeral home either needed to remodel and add more space, or build a new facility. And St. Henry’s was in position to purchase the present funeral home building so Schoeneberger started looking for a building site. The lot across from Tesaro on Jake Street proved to be the best location and plans were drawn by bhh Architects in Perham.

Most of the furniture at the present funeral home will be donated locally, Sheets said, adding that a designer within the company has chosen the decor for the new building.

Once the funeral home has passed its Minnesota Department of Health Mortuary Science inspection in early May, Sheets said, and the sign for the business is installed -- Schoeneberger Funeral and Cremation Services -- a move-in date will be finalized and an open house planned.

In it’s 136th year -- Schoeneberger Funeral home was established in 1881 -- it is one of the oldest funeral homes in Minnesota.

The late B.A. Schoeneberger bought a building downtown in 1913, and in 1934, his sons, Martin and Al took over the business. In 1972, Martin (Al died in 1968), built a modern funeral home at the home’s present location on Third Avenue SW. When Martin’s health started declining in about 1972, he sold the business to Tom Vertin whose family had been in the funeral business for three generations and held the same values as the Schoeneberger family.

Steve Sheets was hired in 1978 to serve as manager and in 1981, became a part owner.

The funeral home underwent a major addition and renovation in 1993, providing off-street parking, a larger chapel and easier accessibility.

In 2007, Hans Larson joined the staff as a funeral director.

“We are so excited about the convenience and services (the new building) will provide for Perham area families well into the future,” Sheets said.

For more information about the services offered at Schoeneberger Funeral Home, call 346-5175.