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History & Staff

Our Story

Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.

Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.

Learn the legacy.

Our Heritage of Frerker Funeral Home

Our Heritage of Frerker Funeral Home

Theodore B. Volmer was a cabinet maker by trade. He settled in St. Louis and apprenticed himself to a cabinet maker named Mr. Ratermann. After a year of training during which Mr. Volmer also attended the St. Louis Embalming School, Mr. Ratermann considered his pupil skilled enough to start his own business. Mr. Ratermann suggests that Theodore start a business in Carlyle since it was a growing city.

By this time Theodore had married his shipboard sweetheart, Mary Schulte. They settled in Carlyle where he established the Carlyle Furniture and Funeral Company in 1867. His business prospered since he was an excellent craftsman and offered the only funeral service within 15 miles.

Theodore and Mary raised a family of seven daughters, all of whom were taught to help with the family business. Mr. Volmer made the caskets and the girls lined them.

In 1900, Christine Volmer, Theodore’s second oldest daughter married John Frerker, a Carlyle man, who subsequently purchased the funeral and furniture business from Mr. Volmer. They raised a family of four children, a daughter Helen, and three sons, Paul, Pete, and Bill.

The three boys grew up in the business and, after they finished high school, Paul and Pete enrolled in the Worsham Training School of Anatomy, now the Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Bill attended the Carpenter School of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, MO.

In 1925 John Frerker Purchased the Klein building on the corner of 7th and Fairfax, and remodeled it for a funeral home. It was one of the first facilities of such for miles around.

John H. Frerker died in 1933 and the funeral business was carried on by his sons, Paul and Pete while Bill operated the furniture store. In addition to the Carlyle facility the Frerker brothers opened a funeral home in Beckemeyer in 1954 to better serve their community.

Pete Frerker, Tom’s father died unexpectedly in December of 1966. At that time Bill came into the funeral business more prominently following the closing of the furniture store.

In February of 1969 Paul Frerker died suddenly followed by Bill’s death four months later leaving Bill’s widow, Agnes, to operate the business.

At that time Illinois state law required that the owner of a funeral home had to be a licensed funeral director. This is when Tom enrolled in the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago.

After graduating from Worsham and passing the state of Illinois examination, Tom and his family returned to Carlyle to complete his one year apprenticeship. He purchased the business in August of 1973.

Our Heritage of Hempen Funeral Home

Our Heritage of Hempen Funeral Home

In 1915, Henry B. Hempen formed a partnership with Theodore J. Welling and established Welling & Hempen, a popular general store in New Baden. The store sold an array of household products and LP gas. It also provided a number of services including plumbing, heating, and sheet metal products and services. In addition, Henry received his funeral director’s license and established funeral service, providing caskets and other funeral merchandise, all of which was housed above the general store.

Funeral visitations around the turn of the century in the United States were mostly held in the home of the deceased. Most often preparation of the deceased was also done in the home. This meant that all equipment and supplies had to be taken to the home by horse and buggy at any time of day or night, in any kind of weather. Equipment for the wake or visitation was also delivered. Since most homes had no electricity, batteries and “strings of lights” as well as chairs, flowers stands, tables for lunch, and other equipment and supplies were delivered.

Following preparation of the deceased, the family invited relatives, neighbors, and friends into their home for the visitation or wake, which was usually held in the front parlor or living room. The invitation was generally extended by use of funeral notices placed in businesses and public places to announce the wake since there were no telephones or local radio, and daily newspapers in rural areas were virtually non-existent. Houses sometimes were built with funerals in mind, with two front doors, one for visitors to enter, the other to exit. The actual funeral service usually held in the deceased’s church. As transportation improved, traditions evolved and families began choosing to have visitations at funeral homes instead.

In late 1943, the Welling & Hempen partnership was dissolved. By this time the old general store had expanded; it made sense to separate the different businesses. Henry purchased property on the north side of Hanover Street in New Baden, about four blocks east of the original location, and established what would become Hempen Hardware, continuing his plumbing, heating, sheet metal, pump and pump repair, and insurance business. Shortly thereafter, he purchased property on the south side of the highway and established Hempen Funeral Home.

Henry was married to Augusta Mann and had three children: Marjorie, Bernard and Marilyn. Bernard, or Ben, as most knew him, served in the US Navy during WWII, then returned home to join his father in the businesses. Like his father, Ben was a licensed funeral director and embalmer as well as a licensed plumber. In 1956 Henry and Ben purchased property in Albers and built what was then the first building in Clinton County to be built as a funeral home. Prior to that, most funeral homes were established in converted single-family houses.

In January 1965, Ben purchased the businesses from his father. Ben had married Dorothy Carson in 1943 and together they had seven children. Ben’s son, Carson, entered the businesses with his father in 1970. Like his father and grandfather, Carson was a licensed funeral director and embalmer, and a licensed plumber. In 1976, Carson purchased the businesses from his father. Carson and Ben were also certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). Hempen Funeral Home provided ambulance service in New Baden and the surrounding area. This was a common practice since often times funeral homes had the only vehicle that could accommodate people needing emergency transportation to a hospital.

In 1979, Carson upgraded the ambulance service by applying for and receiving a federal grant and placing into service one of the first van style ambulances in the area. In August, 1983 Carson assisted the Village of New Baden in establishing the municipal ambulance service to continue to provide service to New Baden, Albers, Damiansville, New Memphis, and Lookingglass Township.

In 1990, Carson closed Hempen Hardware to concentrate his efforts in the funeral business. Throughout this time, Carson had begun to assist other funeral homes in Southern Illinois including Bruegge Funeral Home in Breese and Brefeld Funeral Home in Aviston. In June of 1997, when Mike Bruegge decided to concentrate solely on his furniture business, Carson purchased Bruegge Funeral Home in Breese. He had also been assisting Dorothea (Brefeld) Lengermann and her husband Paul in the operation of Brefeld Funeral Home in Aviston.

In May, 1999, a new funeral home was built and Carson purchased the business from the estate of Paul & Dorothy Lengermann. Today, Hempen Funeral Home has locations in Breese, Aviston, Albers, & New Baden.

Hempen Funeral Home has been providing family owned services for well over 100 years – since 1872 in Breese, 1910 in Aviston, and 1915 in New Baden & Albers.

In June of 2014, Eric Nordike purchased Hempen Funeral Home from Carson Hempen. Eric and his staff will continue to provide Clinton County with the devoted service of the past. We look forward to growing the business and serving Clinton County residents with unique and personalized funeral services. We want every service we conduct to reflect the life that we have been entrusted to honor.

We take great pride in our service to our community. We believe that “giving back” is a major part of our obligation. That’s why you will see Nordike Funeral Home as a sponsor to many local charitable events and personnel from the funeral home involved. We understand the values of Clinton County. Most importantly, we understand the importance of creating a meaningful funeral service for a life well lived.

Who We Are

Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.

Eric  Nordike

Eric Nordike

Owner / President
Haley Voss

Haley Voss

Funeral Director/Embalmer/Manager
Tom Frerker

Tom Frerker

B. Carson  Hempen

B. Carson Hempen

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