The Saunders & McFarlin Funeral Home, Inc., is located at 107 West Sumner Street in Harvard, Illinois. We are the funeral home that serves the area; this community has an effective population of approximately 10,000, including the surrounding rural area.
At the turn of the 20th century, the firm of W.A. Hochchild operated a furniture and undertaking establishment at 29 North Ayer Street, Harvard’s main street. Purchased in 1921 by S.E. Betzer, the building was then remodeled to three stories. Then, in the early 1930’s, Edward M. Schutt (S.E. Betzer’s son-in-law) and his partner, Z.F. “Dick” Cerny bought the business.
In 1938, Schutt and Cerny purchased a family residence at the firm’s current location, 107 West Sumner Street. The residence, which had been owned by John Dolan, who served as an engineer for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, was soon converted into a funeral home.
Eleven years later, in 1949, Mr. Cerny sold his interest in the business to L.E. “Butch” McFarlin and L. Ben Saunders. Then, in 1952, the new firm of Schutt, McFarlin, & Saunders Furniture and Funeral Home added a preparation room, a two car garage, and an arrangement office to the building in order to provide even better service to the families of the Harvard community.
In the early 1950’s Eleanor Saunders (L. Ben’s wife) began playing the organ at the funeral home for services. She continued this until her death in 2007.
Butch McFarlin died in 1968, and Edward Schutt retired 2 years later. But the business remained strong, as L. Ben Saunders and Keith F. Hoffman (owner of Hoffman Funeral Home) consolidated their businesses to form the Saunders & Hoffman Funeral Home. Then, in 1973, the Hoffman Funeral Home building was sold after a large renovating project at 107 West Sumner was completed. The project resulted in the tripling of the usable area for visitations and funerals for the Harvard community.
In March of 1976, Kevin B. McFarlin (son of Butch McFarlin), began his apprenticeship for his Funeral Director and Embalmer License; after obtaining his license, he continued his profession at the funeral home. Keith Hoffman died in 1980, and soon after, Lynn Saunders (son of L. Ben Saunders) pursued his interest in the funeral profession; he became licensed in 1984.
Having worked together for four years, Kevin McFarlin and Lynn Saunders decided to carry on their families’ tradition in funeral service. On April 1, 1985, the Saunders & McFarlin Funeral Home, Ltd. was formed with L. Ben Saunders. Five years later, in 1990, Kevin McFarlin died suddenly at the age of 34, and in 1995 L. Ben Saunders died after 46 years of service to the community. And the same tradition continues…a tradition of excellent service and unwavering care, and a daily commitment to the needs of the families and of this community.