Family Business: A 140-Year Tradition Continues at Levitt’s Funeral Home | News, sports, jobs

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Levitt Funeral Home at 403 7th Street as seen today. The business is celebrating its 140th anniversary. (photo provided)

PARKERSBURG – For 140 years, Levitt Funeral Service has focused on caring for families and serving the community.

The business, which has locations in Parkersburg and Belper, is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year.

“It’s a big milestone for us.” John Levitt, along with his brother Stephen, are the fifth generation of Levitts to run the business.

John Levitt said the anniversary is important to recognize and celebrate with his employees and the community because the business has made connections with so many people in the area.

As the fifth generation to run the business, Stephen Levitt says it means a lot to them to allow them to continue to serve the community that their family has long been a part of.

In the year In 1983, Belpre Leavitt Funeral Home was built. (photo provided)

“It’s important to us.” he said.

The brothers are proud to be the only family owned funeral home in the area after being sold to companies and businesses out of state.

The business began as a partnership in 1865 when George Elmendorf Levitt bought a barrel on a New England ridge. Finally it became a general store. Over time, people started asking him to make coffins for them.

The business on the family side for George’s son Citi Leavitt established their first funeral home, motor boats, and more.They established their business at 218 Juliana Street until 1919 when they moved to 324 Juliana Street. In the year In the early 1920s he moved it to a location at 403 Seventh Street. In the 1940s, the business was taken over by Citi’s sons, Charles, Ed and Ralph Levitt. In 1975, Charles’ son Carr bought the business. After Carr Levitt died in July 1999 in March 2000, his sons John and Stephen took over the business.

Levitt’s Funeral Service has been at their current location on Seventh Street for almost 100 years.

The Levitt Funeral Home, located at 403 Seventh Street, was built in 1872 by General John J. Jackson after the Civil War for George Thompson, president of the Ohio River Railroad, and his wife, Belle Frances Jackson Thompson, Jackson’s daughter. CT Leavitt purchased the home in the 1920s and this has been the location of the business ever since. (photo provided)

John said that many people have told him stories of how his family has served his family over the years and generations.

“You will find many beautiful and interesting stories.” he said.

Over the years, the business has been adapting to the changing times and innovating as customers need different things.

“We have continuously adjusted our facilities to provide what our families need.” Stephen said.

In recent years, the business has built a new family center where families can gather after service to eat. With cremation becoming an option for many people, they have invested in their cremation services.

In the year (photo provided)

“Expectations have changed.” Stephen said. Now you need a large footprint to be able to serve people.

In the past, the business has added a chapel, kitchen, children’s room and more as needed.

“We’ve had to update the facilities to give the families the facilities they need while they’re here.” John said some people can be two days or more depending on the services they need.

“It was just to provide a coffin.” Stephen said. “Now it’s creating a celebration of someone’s life and putting a family through it.”

Even in the last 20 years, technological changes have changed a lot of what they do and how it works, he said.

Citi passed the business on to his sons Ralph, G. Edward and Charles in the 1940s and was purchased by Charles’ son, Carr Levitt, in 1975. (photo provided)

In recent years, there has been more interest in live streaming funeral services for families in different parts of the country who do not have to fly to this area but can still be part of the service.

“We can do a live broadcast where relatives can watch from anywhere in the country.” John said. We had to adapt a lot to that (incorporating audio-visual tools and videos).

“Creating experiences and technology helps us create a better experience for families and celebrate their loved one’s life.” Stephen added. “We are always looking for the best ways to serve our families, looking at what families want and need. We always try to stay on top of that. “

For many years, people have been using images to evoke memories and emotions since ancient times.

“Now we’re moving into video and live streaming and bringing people together in real time.” John said. “Technology can now bring people here who couldn’t do it without.

George Elmendorf Levitt, shown in 1881, was the first generation owner of Levitt Funeral Services. In 1865, the business, as a cooperative, bought barrels on the New England Ridge. Finally it became a general store. Over time, people started asking him to make coffins for them. He passed the business on to his son, Citi Levitt. (photo provided)

“It’s about bringing family and friends together at a time like this.”

The business still does a lot of community work and supports local people and organizations in the area.

Both commended their staff for consistently serving the needs of their customers.

They have 18 full-time employees and many more interns or part-time employees. Some have been with them for 30-40 years.

“We are a very strong service-oriented business.” Stephen said. “It takes people to take care of people.”

John says they are the only local funeral home that still has someone to answer the phone and serve people at any time, day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“We want families to know when they need something, they can come straight to us.” John said. “People tell us they’re surprised that our employees come in dressed up at midnight. That’s respect and that hasn’t changed for us. Those are our core values.”

“A lot has changed, but the fundamentals haven’t changed in 140 years.”

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com.

Under CT Levitt, the business grew to include the first funeral home and the first motorized hearse around 1910. (photo provided)

Under CT Levitt, the business grew to include the first funeral home and the first motorized hearse around 1910. (photo provided)

Citi passed the business on to his sons Ralph, G. Edward and Charles in the 1940s and was purchased by Charles’ son, Carr Levitt, in 1975. (photo provided)




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