Myers and Blankenbaker owned a funeral home in Jeffersontown.
Fred Myers and Nat Blankenbaker

Funeral Home History

An unfortunate need in any community is a local funeral home. One of the earliest and best-known in Jeffersontown was the Myers & Blankenbaker funeral home, which was located on the town square at 10515 Watterson Trail, to the right of the building that houses Jeffersontown Hardware.

Ad from 1908 for Myers and Blankenbaker

Fred Myers began his career in 1901, serving under C. Schildt & Sons of Louisville, and by 1907 he was established as a funeral director and embalmer in his own right, dubbing himself the successor to J.W. Shafar. By 1908 he had taken on N.R. Blankenbaker as partner, thus creating Myers & Blankenbaker. That same year, the two invested in an up-to-date hearse, which was pictured in their advertising at the time, and they were able to render the same funerary services provided in larger cities.

As necessary as the funeral home was, that business alone was not enough to keep Fred Myers and Nat Blankenbaker as busy as they wanted to be. Both men were heavily involved in civic duties; Myers was for many years chief of the Jeffersontown Volunteer Fire Department, a trustee of the Jeffersontown cemetery, a Mason, and an active member of the Jeffersontown Christian Church, while Blankenbaker also served as a real estate agent in the firm Blankenbaker & Bowles.

Yet even that was not enough for these enterprising men. In addition to serving as a funeral home, complete with chapel, offices and stockroom, the building was loaned and sometimes rented as space for various programs. More often than not, use of the building was provided for free as a civic service, so that other organizations and churches had a space to hold fundraisers, political rallies, community events and performances.

Foreman Funeral Home, circa 1994
Foreman Funeral Home

Some of the most interesting events held at the funeral home were the Myers & Blankenbaker Picture Shows. In the early 1900s moving pictures were a fairly new form of entertainment, but Myers & Blankenbaker showed them fairly regularly, and even had an electric piano that played during these shows. Admission was 10 cents for adults and 5 cents for children. The Boy Scouts often hosted these shows, while Myers & Blankenbaker allowed them to keep the proceeds and even paid for the advertisements. In a very interesting 1917 ad, Myers & Blankenbaker promoted both their automobile and horse-drawn hearses, along with their picture show.

But that was not all Myers & Blankenbaker did at the funeral home; they also sold cars. They were the county agents for Overland Automobiles, and their 1914 ad even states, “come in and see this car,” which suggests that at least one of the cars was actually at the funeral home. In 1915, even though other newspapers were reporting about hard times, The Jeffersonian stated that in two weeks, Myers & Blankenbaker had sold five or six cars. They even opened a branch office at Middletown, where in addition to funeral services, their ad states they were also agents for McCormick mowers, tractors, binders and rakes.

After the death of Blankenbaker, Myers was in the business on his own again, offering both funeral home and ambulance services for Jeffersontown and Middletown. Fred Myers passed away in 1950, and in 1955 Barry and Charles Foreman obtained interest in the funeral home from one of Myers’ grandsons, Fred Roemele. In 1958 they purchased the remaining interest from his brother, Lloyd Roemele. Foreman Funeral Home remained in the building until 1963, when it moved to its new location at 10600 Taylorsville Road, now the site of Ratterman Funeral Home.

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