top banner

History

In 1861 Frederick Long, a local cabinetmaker, established a furniture business at the corner of Washington Street and Jackson Avenue. As a cabinetmaker, he received requests for the construction of coffins and then discovered that there was a need for hacks (livery drivers). Long's response prompted the beginning of his furniture and undertaking business. It is from this pioneer firm that Beidelman-Kunsch has evolved.

Oliver J. Beidelman (O.J.), Frederick Long's nephew, began working for his uncle prior to the turn of the century and later purchased the firm from Long in 1911. Seventeen years later, Beidelman built the 3-story brick building at the original location and continued to operate the dual-purpose business concern until his retirement.

Throughout his lifetime, Oliver Beidelman was a 50-year member of the Euclid Lodge #65 AF & AM and became one of the founders of the Naperville YMCA.

Oliver J. Beidelman's son, Owen "Dutch" Beidelman, entered the family business at an early age and continued to operate both businesses at the original location (Beidelman Furniture Store.) By 1966, Dutch had relocated the funeral home to 117 West Van Buren where it remained for nearly 40 years.

In addition to his prospering businesses, Dutch was a member of Rotary Club for over 60 years while also serving as a member of the Masonic Euclid Lodge #65 AF & FM, as well as past director and lifelong member of the Naperville YMCA. Dutch also served on the Naperville City Council for 24 years, while actively supporting many civic projects and organizations.

In 1968, John W. Kunsch, son-in-law of Owen Beidelman, joined the staff of the funeral home. 1978 brought the firm's official name change to Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Home. John earned his Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University in 1963 and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1969. John, a 2nd Lt. of the U.S. Army, was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam in 1965.

Since John's involvement with the funeral home began, he has actively participated in community service with memberships in the VFW, the American Legion, and the Kiwanis Evening Club. In June of 2000, a second branch facility was built to accommodate the growing population of southern Naperville. Located at 24021 W. Royal Worlington Drive, this site provides convenient access from Route 59.

In 2002, the West Van Buren facility was relocated to the former Illinois Bell Building at 516 S. Washington St. -a return to Washington Street where it all began 150 years ago. Coinciding with the development and relocation of the existing facilities, John W. Kunsch's twin sons, John L. and Joseph O. Kunsch (fifth generation) joined their father in the family business. Both 1997 graduates of Loras College and 1998 graduates of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, John and Joseph take pride in keeping the funeral home family-owned and independent. Both strive to maintain the historic family values of service that have been passed down from each preceding generation.