Foster Funeral and Cremation Center is marking a big milestone in its history this year as the business celebrates 100 years of service to Webster City and the surrounding area.
In observance of the anniversary, Foster Funeral and Cremation Center will host a Business After Hours on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. An open house is planned for Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A meal will be served in the newly designed fellowship hall at the funeral home.
In 1908, Arch Foster and Evelyn Rodney Foster came to Webster City from Independence, Iowa. He purchased the J.W. Allington Furniture Company at that time and was in partnership with T.S. Curtis. In 1909, his brother, William A. Foster moved to Webster City buying out Curtis. The Foster Furniture Company was located on Main Street in the 600 block. Incorporated in the business was Foster's Undertaking and Ambulance Service, located next door.
The staff of Foster Funeral and Cremation Center includes, back row, Scott Erickson, Bob Erickson, Chad Johnson, Dick Wiemann; seated, Delores Arends and Amy Erickson Keller.
Arch worked with both the furniture and undertaking, while his brother workedmainly in the furniture company.
William Foster moved to Algona in 1916 and his brother assumed full ownership of the company. In 1926, a house built by one of Webster City's pioneers, C.T. Fenton, was purchased. After extensive remodeling, the building became the home of Foster Funeral Home in September 1927. The Foster Furniture Company closed in 1932.
Maris Brandrup was associated with Foster's for 28 years. He had also engaged in farming and raising Angus cattle. In 1952, the Foster Funeral Home was incorporated and the officers were: Mr. Foster, president; W.E. Noller, vice president; Gertrude Ermels, secretary; and in 1953, R. Eugene Town became treasurer until his death in 1961.
Foster was very active in community affairs and in the funeral home operation until his death in 1970 at the age of 88. In 1968, the officers were: W.E. Noller, president; Merle Finer, vice president; Robert Erickson, secretary-treasurer. Finer left the corporation and later James Bergeson from Mason City joined the firm. Gertrude Ermels served as the business secretary for 45 years, until her retirement in 1970. In 1990, W.E. Noller retired after 38 years with Foster's.
New construction of the funeral home was planned in 1992 just east of the old building. The business moved into the new building in February 1993.. Bergeson retired in 1994 and Robert Erickson became the sole owner of Foster Funeral Home. In 1994, Richard Cuddy was hired as a funeral director, leaving in October 2007.
Chad Johnson joined the business in 1999, serving his residency and later becoming a licensed funeral director. The Webster City native serves in all facets of the operation.
Being raised in the funeral business, it was no surprise to see Scott Erickson move back from Arizona and become an Iowa funeral director. He has been with the business since May of 2002. His duties also include monument sales and he is a licensed pre-need counselor. Amy Erickson Keller became a licensed funeral director in 2007 and works part-time at Foster's and Webster City Medical Clinic. Delores Arends and Bob Wiemann work part-time assisting with visitations and funerals.
Bob Erickson said "As we move forward into an ever changing world, the staff at Foster's would like to thank you for your growing commitment to us as we continue to serve Hamilton County and the surrounding areas. The tradition continues."