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|01-04-03: Local family-owned funeral home is sold
|By BETTY LAWRENCE
The Daily Standard
Lehman Funeral Home in Celina was sold Friday, but long-time owner Mike
Lehman said he still plans to be involved in the business for another year.
Cousins Nick and Brian Hogenkamp, the fifth-generation operators of
Hogenkamp Funeral Homes, and Steve Dzendsel, a licensed funeral home director from West
Milton, on Friday bought Lehman Funeral Home, 901 Myers Road.
Dzendsel, his wife and two daughters have relocated to Celina to run
the funeral home. Dzendsel, a funeral home director since 1992, will work with Lehman on a
daily basis for at least one year, Lehman said.
Although the company has changed ownership, the business and the name
will remain as is, Lehman said.
"I want to assure the public that things will stay the same here
at the funeral home. I plan to work with Steve (Dzendsel) in operating the business. I
just now will have some time to spend with my family. That's something I haven't had the
luxury to do in a long time," Lehman said. ehman said
he has been looking for a partner or someone to take over the business for the last two
"In the end, Hogenkamps seemed to have the best program for both
of us. They are already established and again I stress, everything here at the funeral
home will remain the same. I wanted the community to be comfortable with this," he
Lehman has been a funeral home director in Celina for 42 years and has
operated the Myers Road facility since 1979.
The former Celina Vale Funeral Home, of which Lehman later became a
partner, was founded in 1923 by Clair W. Vale and operated as Vale Funeral Home for many
years. When Wilbur E. Stein became a partner in the funeral home in 1945, it was known as
the Vale & Stein Funeral Home, located at the corner of Livingston and Ash streets.
Vale retired in 1960 and Lehman started there in 1961 while in high school, becoming a
partner of the firm in 1972. The firm was then known as Vale-Stein-Lehman Funeral Home.
When the business moved to the Myers Road facility in July 1979, the
name Vale was dropped and the name Stein subsequently was dropped in 1985, following the
retirement of Stein in 1981.
"I'm not ready to retire yet, but the last time we had a family
vacation was when we had the funeral home built in 1979," Lehman said.
The first Hogenkamp Funeral Home was constructed in Coldwater in 1874.
Nick and Brian Hogenkamp are co-owners of N.J. Hogenkamp and Sons Inc., of Coldwater,
Minster and St. Henry.
The father and son team of Jay and Brian Hogenkamp direct the Hogenkamp
Funeral Home in Coldwater, while another father and son team, Nick A. and Nick C.
Hogenkamp, direct the Hogenkamp facility in Minster. The Hogenkamp Funeral Home in St.
Henry is directed by Larry Heitkamp.
All of the funeral home directors involved in the Lehman ownership
transition are graduates of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Brian Hogenkamp has been in the Coldwater business since 1993 and Nick
Hogenkamp at the Minster facility since graduating from college in 1982.
"We hope to continue the fine tradition of service that Mike
Lehman has established in the Celina area," wrote the Hogenkamps and Dzendsel in a
press release to the newspaper.
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