The Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Elkins, the oldest funeral establishment in central West Virginia, is celebrating 129 years of service this year to the families in Randolph and surrounding counties.
Its distinguished history began in 1889 when Z. Kendall established the Kendall Funeral Home. Then on July 1, 1947, John W Lohr and Clay B Whetsell purchased the funeral home from Rosa Belle "Rose" Caplinger Kendall, widow of Samual McClelland Kendall.
Lohr, a graduate of Magnolia High School in New Martinsville, served his apprenticeship at the Glenn A. Mowery Funeral Home in Paden City and graduated with honors in 1940 from the Cincinnati College of Embalming. A licensed funeral director and embalmer, he served with the A. L. Hawkins Funeral Home in Bluefield until he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942.
At the end of World War II, Lohr and his wife, Katherine Bradley Lohr, known to many as "Kitty", came to Elkins.
In the spring of 1956, Lohr purchased Whetsell's share of the stock and became the sole owner.
Three years later, the funeral home was invited into membership of the National Selected Morticians, now known as Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a nationally recognized organization emphasizing commitment to the highest qualites of funeral service. Lohr served on the National Selected Mortician's Board of Directors and was the International President of the Organization from 1971 to 1972.
During 1961, the funeral home facility was renovated to make it one of the most modern funeral homes in the state. In 1993, the interior of the funeral home was remodeled to provide additional comfort and accesiblity for the handicapped.
On January 1, 1982, Mr. Lohr retired and transferred the funeral home stock to the Barb family. Jeffrey A. Barb, who is now retired, joined the firm following graduation in September of 1976 from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where he graduated at the top of his embalming and restorative art class.
On October 3, 2003, Mr. John Wilson Lohr departed this life after suffering a massive stroke the day before.
H. Nicholas Barb, son of Jeffrey and Anita Barb, joined the staff of Lohr & Barb Funeral Home and is third generation in the family business. Barb graduated with honors from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science on September 7, 2007. He received the William J. Musmanno Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding ability, attitude, commitment and achievement in the clinical setting. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the State of West Virginia. He joins his parents and his grandfather, L. Hugh DeMotto, as a funeral director and embalmer in the family business. This makes him the third generation of funeral directors at the Lohr & Barb Funeral Home. Nick is a 2003 graduate of Tucker County High School. Before attending the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Barb attended West Virginia University.
J. Adam Barb, son of Jeffrey and Anita Barb, joined the staff of Lohr & Barb Funeral Home and was also third generation in the family business. Barb graduated with honors Cum Laude from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science on September 9, 2011. He was a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the State of West Virginia. Adam joined his father (Jeff), brother (Nick), and his grandfather, L. Hugh DeMotto, as a funeral director and embalmer in the family business. Adam was a 2006 graduate of Tucker County High School. Before attending Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Barb attended Fairmont State University and West Virginia University. On July 8, 2016, an automobile accident took the life of our dearly beloved Adam.
A unique feature of the funeral home is its antique funeral car, a 1953 Pontiac Landau Style Funeral Coach, of which there where only eighty eight produced, and ours is one of two known to exist.
Late model coaches in the funeral home fleet include a 2008 Cadillac DTS Landau Coach and a 2009 Cadillac DTS Landau Coach. However, the motorized vintage coach may be used for a funeral upon request of a family.
Before the days of the automobile, the undertaker knew when he was called to the home of a family that had just lost a loved one that he would be spending the next few nights with the family.
The undertaker would prepare for his journey by grooming the horses, preparing his luggage, place the coffin and necessary equipment into the hearse for a home visitation and church funeral.
When the undertaker arrived at the home he would kindly asked the family and neighbors if they would gather at the kitchen to share and reminisce about the good memories and stories of their loved one. He would then go to the bedroom and prepare the body for viewing and the events of the next few days.
The standard for three generations.
"Our Family Helping Your Family"
The Barb Family and staff
"Togetherness is the glue that binds loving families, even through the toughest of times. And when your family is faced with the loss of a loved one, call our funeral home and let our family help your family make that bond even stronger."