Fred J. Hartwig, an expert cabinet maker by trade, opened a furniture and undertaking establishment in Medford in 1888. He began at first by constructing coffins, and in 1891 he began the record keeping duties and preparation of bodies for burial, the duties of the early “undertakers”. He sold his business in 1906 to his son Theodore C. Hartwig and Len Latton. Fred died in 1927. He was the great grandfather and his son Ted the great uncle of the present day owner.
In 1913 Ted Hartwig and Werner Pflughoeft established Pflughoeft & Hartwig Furniture and Undertaking and worked out of a storefront on Main Street in Downtown Medford.
In the early 1930s a building on the corner of Division and Second Streets was purchased and the funeral end of Pflughoeft & Hartwig was based out of it.
The year 1938 saw Ted Hartwig’s nephews, brothers Earle and David Ruesch, join Pflughoeft & Hartwig Furniture and Undertaking. Ted Hartwig died in 1940.
In 1942 the Ruesch brothers separated from Pflughoeft & Hartwig and started the Ruesch Funeral Home at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Spruce Street. In 1946 Werner Pflughoeft sold his business interests to the Ruesch brothers and a new firm name of Hartwig & Ruesch Furniture and Undertaking was established, and the firm again made its home at the corner of Division and Second Streets.
In the early 1950s the Ruesch brothers purchased the interests of Ted Hartwig’s widow Marie, and phased out the Hartwig name. Earle Ruesch relocated to the State of Colorado in 1957, and the next year David Ruesch’s first cousin John Hemer joined what was now known as Ruesch Funeral Service. The business was incorporated in 1960.
In 1965 a new funeral home was constructed at the corner of Cedar Street and Gibson Avenue.
David Ruesch retired in 1971 and Mr. and Mrs. John Hemer purchased the business, at that time changing the name to Hemer Funeral Service, Inc. Mr. Ruesch died in 1985.
J. Mark Hemer joined the firm in 1974, and Jeff in 1980. John Hemer retired in 1978 and died in 1982. Jane Hemer retired in 1989, died in 2008 and the firm is currently owned by the great grandson of the founder, Fred J. Hartwig.
Hemer Funeral Service, Inc. purchased the assets of Dallmann-Kniewel Funeral Homes of Medford and Rib Lake on February 1, 2012.
Colton Freiberg joined the firm in May of 2016.
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