Higby Mortuary
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Our History

The roots of the Higby Mortuary go back to the early years of Aurora and Hamilton County. In 1889 the Chapman Furniture and Undertaking existed when it was a furniture store; had a licensed embalmer; and sold caskets.

In 1912 Glen Chapman, son of the owner attended Worshams School of Embalming in Chicago and on his return to Aurora, brought with him a schoolmate - Austin Higby.

After serving as an embalmer and a funeral director, Austin Higby purchased a part interest in the funeral business while the Chapmans continued to operate the furniture store. The buildings were located on 1000 block of the eastside of 13th Street in the general area of Bob Hope Furniture Mart. Later the bank building at the southeast corner of the Square was purchased to make room for the growing funeral home.

In 1938 Eldon Higby became the second generation in the funeral profession when he joined his father.

The name "Higby Mortuary" became a reality in 1954 when Eldon and his father purchased the remaining Chapman interest.

Following the death of Austin Higby in 1956, Eldon purchased his father's interest in the business and in 1958 Eldon's wife Dorothy, received her Funeral Directors License.

A new building was begun in 1959 and in 1960 Higby Mortuary moved into its present location.

Two years later, Ron Messman came to work for Higby Mortuary and in 1967 Jim Higby returned home to become the third generation Higby in the funeral service.

In 1974 an expansion took place to the west when an apartment was added to the mortuary structure and Clifton and Effie Evans became new caretakers.

During the following decade additional parking was added and more modernization took place at the mortuary.

The ambulance service to Hamilton County was discontinued in 1974. Upon the Evans' retirement, Buddy and Winona Tuttle joined the staff in 1985. They retired in 1999.

In 1986, after working side by side with the Wall funeral Home through busy times and vacations, Sam and Vi sold their business to the Higbys. At that time it was decided not to buy the Walls' home/mortuary building so they could continue their happy life there, and also to not to open a storefront business in Hampton, but rather to offer all the values of our full service mortuary only a few minutes from Hampton.

In 1989 major renovations took place when the area to the south of Higby Mortuary was landscaped and a 20 space, paved parking lot was added.

Higby Mortuary is proud of their growth through the past century. However, more importantly, they are proud of the confidence the people of this area have placed in their firm.

News Article: New funeral director joins Higby Mortuary