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Vaughan, Kimes funeral homes announce merger

Kimes Funeral Home on Fifth Street in Parkersburg will be the home of the new combined Vaughan-Kimes Funeral Home & Crematory. Vaughan Funeral Home and Kimes Funeral Home are merging into one operation and will be based at 521 Fifth St. Vaughan Funeral Home will be closing its location on Murdoch Avenue. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — Vaughan Funeral Home and Kimes Funeral Home will be merging into one single business at one single location.

Officials announced this past week they have partnered to become a single facility, Vaughan-Kimes Funeral Home & Crematory.

The joint facility will occupy the existing Kimes Funeral Home, which is located at 521 Fifth Street in Parkersburg. The former Vaughan building on Murdoch Avenue will close.

“Providing all of our services from the combined Vaughan-Kimes facility will be more convenient for our customers,” said Vaughan Director Alan E. Parks. “That building (on Fifth Street) was architecturally designed to serve as a funeral home, so it’s more open and airier.

“There’s also more parking and it’s very accessible.”

Vaughan Funeral Home was founded in 1930 by Stanley and Rowena Vaughan. Kimes Funeral Home was opened in 1918 by Herschel and Oma Kimes. Kimes had been run by Kathy and her son Brad Kimes for a number of years. Kathy was getting close to retirement.

“It became a good fit for them to partner with another funeral home,” said Vaughan Director Sam Church.

There wasn’t an active funeral director at Kimes over the last year, Church said.

“In this employment climate, finding funeral directors is very difficult,” he said of something they could immediately bring.

The Vaughan Funeral Home on Murdoch Drive is an older facility and the changing times are requiring a different kind of layout in a more modern facility which includes a larger chapel area that is more accessible for people with disabilities.

“Kimes Funeral Home was specifically designed and built as a funeral home,” Church said. “We thought that would be a good merger and have the two come together.

“With both having good names in the community and a strong following of loyal families locally that we would combine the two together and have the businesses combined into one facility.”

All of the full-time and part-time employees from both businesses will be retained and will be working out of the Fifth Street location.

“Everyone is staying,” Church said.

Around 20 people will be employed, full and part-time, at the combined business, Church said.

The old Vaughan Funeral Home will close at the end of the month and all services will be moved over to Fifth Street.

Church said they have not determined what they will do with the old Vaughan property.

“Our hope is some other entity would be interested in the property,” he said of a possible sale adding they will have a deed restriction saying it can’t be used as a funeral home.

The West Virginia Funeral Group had sold certain assets of Vaughan and other funeral homes they had to Rollings Funeral Services out of Tyrone, Ga., Church said. Vaughan was already in the process of acquiring Kimes when that merger happened, he said adding Rollings has partial ownership over the local funeral homes with local control still in place.

The partnership will continue with Rollings under the new Vaughan-Kimes Funeral Home & Crematory.

“There have been no changes to our operations and no name changes,” Church said. “You never would have known the funeral homes had changed hands.

“We have kept all of our employees.”

The new Vaughan-Kimes website, vaughankimes.com, launched on Friday, May 21, with all of the obituaries that appeared on both businesses’ websites now appearing on the single website.

All of the pre-need plans will be honored as they are with no changes being made other than they will be operating out of the Fifth Street location.

“It will be a location change,” Church said. “Nothing else will change.”

The business will provide complete pre-need planning before death, at-need services at the time of death and cremation services.

Both businesses have been long established in the community and they will continue that together.

“The generations-old legacies of each of these distinct local businesses will live on,” Church said. “Our same level of care, dignity, and service, and even our same staff will continue at one centralized location.”

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com.

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