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History

History

Vinyard Funeral Home has been serving Festus and Pevely area families for years. We are honored to be a part of the rich history of this community and plan to be a part of it for many years to come.

In January 1907 Thomas S. Byrd purchased the Festus Furniture and Undertaking Company located at 116 Main Street in Festus.

Byrd's daughter Joyce married Herbert Scott Vinyard who joined his father-in-law Byrd in the business in 1923. Byrd retired in 1926.  

Anthony “Tony” Duester became a partner with Vinyard in 1928 and the business name changed to Duester and Vinyard, Inc. After Tony retired the company name was changed to Vinyard Funeral Home, Inc. in 1941.  

In the early years of the Festus Furniture and Undertaking Company, horses pulled the furniture delivery wagons and ornate funeral coaches. Caskets were ordered by telegraph, shipped by train and assembled in house. The introduction of the automobile and telephone into everyday life brought many changes to the business. For us, like most funeral directors of that era the furniture business was discontinued and replaced with 24-hour motorized ambulance service. In 1975 new state legislation made paramedic licensing and vehicle requirements such that a tax-based ambulance service became necessary. This is when Vinyard officially discontinued ambulance service. Keith B. Vinyard was a proponent of the change and assisted in the formation of the new Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District and instructed local EMT courses.  

Up until the late 1940s, the funeral business was a very mobile operation. Most wakes were held in the parlors of family homes with funeral services being conducted in churches. Soon after the end of World War II having wakes and services at centralized funeral homes quickly became the norm. These centralized homes in many cases were the funeral directors home. Under Herbert S. Vinyard’s direction in 1948 our operation was moved to the Vinyard family home at 616 W. Main Street and underwent periodic building additions through 1962. In 1979 the original home portion was razed and the funeral home expanded to twice its size. Also, in 1948 a branch facility was opened in a home on S. Main Street in Herculaneum, Missouri.  

Herb and Joyce Vinyard’s sons, Donald Herbert Vinyard and Keith Byrd Vinyard both grew up working in the family business. During WW II Donald served in the U.S. Navy. When Keith became of age after the war he served in the U.S. Army. The brothers were ambulance drivers, licensed funeral directors and embalmers. In 1969, the branch facility in Herculaneum was closed after Donald completed the new Vinyard Hillcrest Chapel on Highway 61-67, located now in Pevely. In 1971 Donald was killed piloting a light airplane. Also killed were his wife Harriet (nee Lowry), daughter Carolyn and her fiance' Paul Thomas Dixon. Herb who had been in poor health with emphysema passed away 6 months later. Joyce continued to live on the premises at Festus actively supporting her son Keith and grandson Keith Herbert in the business until 3 days before her passing in 1986.  

In 1983 new state legislation changed how pre-arranged funerals are sold and funds managed. Funeral homes were now classified as "providers" of funeral goods and services and were no longer allowed to sell and manage their own pre-arranged funeral funds. A third party "seller" of funeral goods and services must now do both. This is when Keith B. and wife Elizabeth "Betty" (nee Strother) Vinyard formed Vinyard Memorial Trusts, Inc., a selling company to see that this extremely important aspect of the business, entrusted by hundreds of families stay safe and 100% in family control.  

In 2001 Keith B. Vinyard passed away from ALS. He was born at the home where the Festus funeral home stands now and passed away at his residence in the Pevely funeral home that was built by his brother Donald.  

Keith and Betty’s son Keith Herbert Vinyard, referred to as "Herby" currently operates the businesses. In 1985 Herby married Sally (nee Watkins) Vinyard who was a longtime music and band teacher for the Festus Schools. Their son Scott Lewis Vinyard has worked full time in the family business since 2010.  

Jefferson County Cremation Services, L.C. was formed, built and put in operation in 2006. This facility is adjacent to Vinyard Hillcrest Funeral Home in Pevely.  

As a church and community service since 1950 Herb, Keith and Herby have served as successive presidents of the Festus Methodist Cemetery Association. In 2005 the Fairview Presbyterian Cemetery, which adjoins the Methodist cemetery was merged to form the Festus Presbyterian/Methodist Cemetery Association. The records are kept with us.  

A company slogan first used in the 1960s “Service Through the Years” remains a business commitment as successive generations adapt to changing needs to serve families in the Festus, Crystal City, Herculaneum, Pevely and surrounding area. Finally, who we are includes the numerous staff members, many who grew close as family, who shared their personal and professional dedication that influenced us, saw us through good years and bad, rough financial times and personal tragedy. Without them, their support and relationships we would not be here today.



Vinyard Funeral Home - Festus
Phone: (636) 937-4646
Fax: (636) 937-5760
616 W. Main St., Festus, MO 63028

Vinyard Hillcrest Funeral Home - Pevely
Phone: (636) 937-4646
Fax: (636) 937-5760
9115 Commercial Blvd., Pevely, MO 6307


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