History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
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.
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.
Our Valued Staff
John W. Kunsch, President & Owner, Director, Pre-Need Specialist & Certified Crematory Operator
John W. Kunsch joined the funeral home staff in 1968. His service as a licensed funeral director evolved in 1978, when he partnered with his father-in-law, Owen Beidelman, in the family business. This prompted the firm's official name change to what is currently known as Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory.
John is a Naperville native and has been actively involved in the community with memberships in the VFW, the American Legion and the Kiwanis Evening Club. He is a 1963 graduate of John Carroll University and 1969 graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Prior to his association with the funeral home, John, a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army, was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam.
John has been married for more than 40 years to wife, Cassie. Together they have three children: a daughter and twin sons. His sons, John L. and Joseph, grew up in the family business and have served as licensed funeral directors at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory for over 10 years.
Cassie Beidelman Kunsch
Cassie is the granddaughter of Oliver J. Beidelman, one of the founders and daughter of Owen Beidelman. She grew up in Naperville and has been married to John W. Kunsch for more than 40 years. Cassie is very active in the community as she has been a member of the Naperville Woman's Club for over 25 years.
In her free time, Cassie enjoys spending time with family including her children and grandchildren. In addition, she has a passion for knitting, crocheting, water colors and oil based painting. Along with her husband, John, Cassie is a member of Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville.
John L. Kunsch, Owner, Funeral Director & Certified Crematory Operator
John L. Kunsch, along with his twin brother Joseph, has been involved in the family funeral business throughout his entire life. As a witness to his father and grandfather's profession, John has gained valuable first-hand knowledge over the years, in preparation for his own service as a licensed funeral director.
A 1997 graduate of Loras College, John earned his diploma to become a licensed funeral director in Illinois at Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1998. While growing up in Naperville, he attended Naperville North High School where he graduated from in 1992.
John has been a lifelong member of Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville. He is a member of the Sons of the American Legion and the Naperville, Chapter 43 American Legion Riders. John is married to wife, Vicki and together they have two daughters, Paiton and Ailey. In his free time, John is a motorcycle enthusiast, enjoys cycling and spending time with his family.
Joseph O. Kunsch, Owner, Funeral Director & Certified Crematory Operator
Joseph O. Kunsch has been involved in the family funeral business throughout his entire life. In addition to his formal training as a licensed funeral director, Joe, like his brother John, has unique professional experience as he is the 5th generation to continue the family legacy in the funeral home business.
Joe earned his Bachelor's Degree from Loras College in 1997. Like his father and brother, he graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science as a licensed funeral director for Illinois in 1998. Raised in Naperville, Joe graduated from Naperville North High School in 1992.
Joe is married to wife, Jennifer and together they have a daughter, Julianne. They are the proud owners of a Yorkshire Terrier named Duke. When away from the office, Joe enjoys spending time outdoors, especially cycling. He attends Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church where he has been a lifelong member.
Philip T. Barnum, Funeral Director & Pre-Need Specialist
Phillip T. Barnum joined the funeral home staff in 1990. With over 30 years of experience as a funeral director, Phil offers great wisdom and compassionate care to the families we serve.
A 1978 graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Phil is an active member in the local community. He is the past President and Program Chairman of the Naperville Lions Club, of which he is currently a member. Phil is also a member of the Founding Board for the Naperville Turkey Trot. In addition, he was involved with a number of community groups in past years including service with the Heritage YMCA: Invest in Youth Camp, Ambassador for the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, and serving as past president and current board member of his condominium complex, Harbor Cove.
In his free time, Phil enjoys traveling, writing and actively participating at his church, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Naperville, where he has been a member for over 20 years. At St. Thomas, Phil previously served as a lector and Commentator while he was also a member and frequent host of "Gatherings," a small faith community.
Shelley Miller, Administrator
Shelley has served as an integral part of the Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory staff at the Washington Street location since 2007. Her kind and compassionate manner provides comfort to each person who steps through our doors. In addition, Shelley assists in printing services and various other specialized tasks that are needed to provide quality service to our families.
With family roots of over 100 years in Naperville, the town she was raised, Shelley attended Naperville North High School where she graduated from in 1990. She went on to attend Illinois State University and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.
In her free time, Shelley enjoys staying active in the community by assisting the elderly. She is married to husband, Andre, and together they have two daughters: Madison and Maya. She is a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville.
Ron A. Kurza, Directors Assistant, Certified Crematory Operator, Web Specialist & Social Media Coordinator
Ron Kurza has been with the Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory since 2011. He assists our families during services as well as manages our web site and Facebook page, and assists with various administrative, marketing and family follow up tasks.
Ron is a 1989 graduate of Millikin University, where he earned his B.A. in Public Relations. In his free time, Ron enjoys and participates in competitive swimming the the Naperville Waves, a United States Masters Swim Team. He is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Naperville. Ron has two children, Kendall and Evan Kurza.
Kenneth Garhan, Funeral Associate/Veteran Specialist
Kenneth Garhan has been a part of the Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory staff for over 20 years. He is married to wife, Dorothy and they have 4 children.
In his free time, Kenneth enjoys working for the Veterans for Foreign Wars organization and traveling. He is an active member of the community, in addition to his service for the VFW, Kenneth works with the American Legion and he is an Usher at his church, Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville.
Rodney Hiltz, Funeral Associate
Rodney Hiltz has been caring for our guests since 2007. He is married to wife, Barbara and together they have one child, Shelley. Rodney grew up in Naperville and attended Naperville Central High School ('56). From 1958-1964 Rodney served in the U.S. Military. He was involved with the transportation of supplies for the North Atlantic U.S. Air Force bases.
In his free time, Rodney enjoys fishing and building his extensive military memorabilia collection. Because he enjoys speaking to others about the history of the pieces in his collection, each year Rodney displays his memorabilia outside Nichols Library in Naperville for the Memorial Day Parade. In addition to his involvement in the community, Rodney attends Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville.