Majority share of funeral home business sold

March 26, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

The owners of Leroy M. & Russell C. Witzke Funeral Homes -- who run two funeral homes, including Columbia's first -- have sold a majority share in their business to a Houston funeral home company for an undisclosed price.

The deal, completed March 15, will free R. Craig Witzke Jr. and his father, Russell C. Witzke Sr., to give more personal attention to their clients at their funeral homes in Columbia's Village of Oakland Mills and in Catonsville, the younger Mr. Witzke said.

"I believed that one day the funeral home would no longer exist; now I believe it will be here for a long time," said the son. "We have now guaranteed the future of this funeral home."

The buyer, Service Corporation International (SCI) -- the world's largest funeral home service and cemetery organization -- owns and operates nearly 2,700 funeral homes and 318 cemeteries worldwide.

The elder Mr. Witzke has been in the funeral business for more than 30 years. He and his son opened Columbia's first funeral home in 1980. As they handled more business, however, the staff was overworked and couldn't continue to provide the personal touches for funeral services, the son said.

With this deal, the family can offer more services and conveniences such as more detailed prearrangements, the younger Mr. Witzke said. There will be no changes in pricing, day-to-day operations, policies or staff at either location, he said.

"Everyone can be sure that we will be providing the same attentive, caring service that our communities have learned to expect from us over the years," he said.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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