The Shanes Crossing Historical Society Memorials Page


Mural Painting by Parkway Students Appreciated and Rewarded
The Shanes Crossing Historical Society president, Norm Van Tilburg, presented a check to Mr. Ed Kuhn, art teacher at Parkway High School. Mr. Kuhn's advanced painting class painted the mural in the background at the new Rockford village building where the historical society is making into a museum.
Marcia Ripley Stansbury Speaks on Ketcham Family Businesses at April 2006 Meeting
At the April meeting of the Shanes Crossing Historical Society, held in the Rockford Methodist Church, Marcia Ripley Stansbury, descendent and fourth generation funeral director of the Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford, spoke to a group of 30 members.


She recently closed 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.

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 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.

She 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 dwon 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.

Marcia's dad, Carl Ripley, joined the company and became a licensed furneral 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. He still does carpeting and linoleum work on his own. At right he works on flooring at Marcia's home as Marcia's daughter, Devon Stansbury watches.


Remember to click on small pictures to enlarge them.

Marcia displays the contents of the
"tool" kit for morticians back in the days of her
Grandfather Thomas Ketcham.

The tool kit, similar to a doctor's kit carried for home visits.

The wicket body basket above was used for taking a body from home to be "prepared" at the funeral home

While cleaning out the
Ketcham Furniture and Flooring
store, Marcia located this journal of the
War Mothers of Dublin Township Club

Mark Woods dragged the Ketcham and Cotterman
safe on its cast steel rollers to its new home on First Street.

Although this newspaper clipping is difficult to read, it is a picture of the Rockford American Legion cooking up barbeque chicken. Thorsen Henkle and Carl Ripley were working the grills.

Dated February 29, 1888, this bill of sale from the Ketcham-Cotterman Furniture and Undertaking Store fits into the unusual category when it comes to age.

Dee Van Tilburg displays a
religious fan typical of the days
when there was no air conditioning.
Imprinted with the Ketcham Funeral Home
logo, it would have been used at a funeral or church.

Shanes Crossing Historical Society, Community Members and the Village of Rockford Council Collaborate

Written by Norm Vantilburg, President of the SCHS 1/31/06 - Thank you!

The Shanes Crossing Historical Society has been looking at buildings in downtown Rockford for the past few years that could be used as a museum.   We have collected many items of interest from the community and keep most of them in storage above the city hall.  We could never find that building that fit our needs and financially was suitable for us.

This past fall 2005,  I was talking with Jeff Long, the city administrator, and he mentioned that the town offices were very crowded and would like to find a larger facility.  We knew the former Rockford Lumber Yard store was for sale and we both talked about sharing the facility.  We also knew that three community organizations, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the Rockford Lions Club, and the Leota Braun Foundation, had all expressed a need for an office, storage room, and possible meeting area. 
Jeff and I threw out the idea that this building could possibly fit the needs of all these organizations.  We contacted the owners about the availability of the building and then met with representatives of all involved and everyone was excited about the way the building could be utilized. We made an offer, and it has been accepted. 
The historical society along with help from the other three organizations will buy the building and deed it to the town.  An agreement is being drawn up that will deed the building to the town, and they will pay the utilities, insurance, and maintenance.  The organizations will have a long term lease to use for their activities.
We felt this was a win-win opportunity for all involved as most of the organization activities are in the evening and the building will be open during the day for visitors and community members as they come to the city hall.
The building will need very little work as the walls, restrooms, floors, etc. are in good shape.  The walls will probably need painting. This spring 2006 we will be able to acquire some storage cabinets and other items from the old school before it is torn down in July.




Last Updated 07/12/2006