History of Barnes Funeral Home
"One Name, One Family, Over One Hundred Years of Service,
Because We Care"
Founder of Barnes Funeral Home -- 1878 - 1962
Robert W. Barnes
In Memory 1913 - 1999
L. P. Barnes and his wife Amelia (Miller) Barnes were the founders of the Barnes Funeral Home in Eaton, Preble County, Ohio in 1920. They came from Uhrichville and Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Mr. Barnes was one of eight children of Huston & Mary Ann Johnston Barnes of Tuscarawas County in Eastern Ohio. He married Amelia Miller in 1900. They first lived in Urichsville and he was an Engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad Line. They moved to Gnadenhutten in 1905.
L.P. Barnes went to Myers College of Embalming School in Columbus and graduated in 1906. He became one of the first in Ohio to receive a Funeral Directors License, Number 70. He worked in a furniture store and was a funeral director at the same time. In those days they had horse-drawn hearses and did their work by oil lamps in the home of the deceased.
The Barnes family moved in 1917 to Oxford Ohio where they were in the Funeral business for a year and then moved to Eaton in 1918. Working for Spring Brothers Department Store in Eaton, Mr. Barnes purchased the Andrew Coffman Funeral Home in 1920.
L.P. Barnes retired in 1952 and his sons Walter M. and Robert W. Barnes continued the Barnes Funeral Home Tradition. L.P. Barnes died in 1962 at age 84. Past President of the Eaton Board of Education he served on the board during the construction of the Eaton High School Building. Both L.P. and Amelia are buried at Mound Hill Union Cemetery in Eaton.
In 1967, Robert C. Barnes joined his father, Robert W. Barnes as a partner in Barnes Funeral Home when Walter M. Barnes sold his interest and moved to Florida. On January 1, 1970, Sharon J. Barnes, wife of Robert C. Barnes became the first licensed woman funeral director in Preble County, Ohio.
Bruce L. Barnes, also a son of Robert W. Barnes became a member of the firm with his father and brother in 1974. Also in 1974, extensive remodeling was undertaken on the funeral home in Eaton, with several additions to the exterior and interior.
December 1974, the Barnes family incorporated the business with Robert W. Barnes as President, Robert C. Barnes and Bruce L. Barnes as Vice-Presidents, and Sharon J. Barnes as Secretary.
December 1975, the Barnes family purchased the Kessler Funeral Home in New Paris, Ohio. Elwood M. Kessler had established the firm in 1911 and it was continued by his son, Frank E. Kessler who died in 1975.
September 1976, the Barnes family entered a contract with Harry L. Bussard, owner of Bussard Funeral Home in Eldorado. Mr. Bussard died in June 1981 but the working contract agreement is still active with Mr. Bussard's daughter, Jill Vaniman, who is a licensed funeral Director & Manager Owner. The funeral home at 311 North Main Street is know as Bussard-Barnes-Vaniman Funeral Home.
March 1977, the Barnes family purchased the Kramer-Moeller Funeral Home in Lewisburg, established in 1919 by Edgar Kramer. The current landmark structure which was owned by the late Martin Gates was used as a residence for many years. It became a funeral home in 1951 after additions and remolding. In 1957, Warren Moeller joined the firm and it became Kramer-Moeller Funeral Home. Edgar Kramer remained active with the firm until 1970 and died in 1971.
March 2006, the Barnes family assumed the management of the Nein Funeral Home in Camden, Ohio.