Older Article on Marica Ripley and Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home and Furniture Store

April 2006 ~ Marcia Ripley Speaks at Shanes Crossing Historical Society
Published on Parkway Independent in April 2006
by Sheila Baltzell

At the April 2006 meeting of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society, held in the Rockford Methodist Church, Marcia Ripley, descendent and fourth generation funeral director of the Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford, spoke to a group of 30 members.

She recently closed (in 2005) the furniture-flooring store on Main Street and relocated all of her business activities (she had been there 32 years) to the Ketcham Ripley Funeral home on First Street in Rockford. She moved into a bigger office and actually moved the Ketcham-Cotterman Safe, as well.

Thomas Ketcham (above

)What she remembers about the furniture store is that it actually started in Mercer and was later moved to Shanes Crossing, Ohio. She does not know if her Great-grandfather William Ketcham started or bought it, but does remember her Uncle Ralph and Grandfather Tom Ketcham working in the second floor mortuary/preparation room with the furniture and flooring business on the first.  They were cabinet and casket makers, and she remembers Grandma Ethel Ketcham (left) running the store and visitation as well. The prep room was eventually built at the current location of the funeral home which was also where Grandmother Ethel lived.





Marcia was recently honored by the National Funeral Directors' Association for over 100 continuous years in service in their family with a plaque this past summer of 2005. The sign at the is an old one from the front of the building.

Gene Barna visited the store during the close-out and move and reminisced about the restaurant he owned across the street, where the Rockford Fire Station now sits. He and Marcia were looking at the old elevator that moved bodies and caskets up to and down from the second floor prep room. The elevator has a huge wheel that was pulled by a rope woven by the late Rockford  resident Pete Temple. Gene and Marcia agreed that the thick rope, woven from twine, was an art form. Gene was one of the many individuals who helped at the furniture store and funeral home when needed.

Carl and Lucille (above)

Marcia's dad, Carl Ripley, joined the company and became a licensed funeral director along-side his wife, Lucille Ketcham Ripley. Carl was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. He was a Marine. He added the flooring business and worked with John Deitsch, who had been with Ketcham's for 40 years having begun there part-time in 1954.

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