Walter Oehler founded Oehler Funeral Home in 1917. Back then wakes were held in the family home, but in 1929 Mr. Oehler opened his Des Plaines Home for Funerals. The location was just north of the downtown area at 555 Lee Street in Des Plaines, Ill.
Oehler Funeral Home prospered for the next 25 years serving the community. Mr. Oehler was active in many civic affairs including Chairman of the Des Plaines Centennial celebration in 1935, President of the Lions Club and a longtime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church where he served several terms on its board of elders. He also served as the President of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association.
In 1954, in an effort to ensure the business would continue with the same level of compassion and professionalism, Mr. Oehler took two long-time employees as partners, Thomas J. Donovan and Robert E. Schaer. Mr. Oehler passed away in 1963, but his plan for the future was firmly in place as Thomas Donovan and Robert Schaer continued to grow the business.
In 1969, they added a state-of-the-art addition to the funeral home, doubling its size. Oehler Funeral Home grew into one of the largest family-owned and operated funeral companies in the state of Illinois. The home continued to thrive and has been a fixture in Des Plaines for more than 90 years.
In 2001, the city of Des Plaines embarked upon a redevelopment plan for the downtown area and wished to relocate the funeral home. It then moved to 2099 Miner Street, where we were able to build a beautiful new facility of which Walter Oehler, Tom Donovan and Robert Schaer would be proud. In fact, their photographs hang in the lobby of the new facility, which opened December 1, 2003.
Walter, Tom and Robert began their business with a commitment to a high standard of service. Throughout the funeral home’s history we have continued to lead and innovate while maintaining those high standards of service. Everyone at Oehler Funeral Home is proud to uphold this heritage and commitment to our community.