History of Ralph J. Wittich Funeral Home
Ralph J Wittich Funeral Home dates back into the 1800’s when Werner Wittich and his brother George operated the Wittich Brothers Furniture and Undertaking Business. In 1932, Werner Wittich left Wittich Brothers and along with his son, Ralph, opened the Ralph J. Wittich Funeral Home on August 5, 1932, at 216 West Third Street.
In 1933, Edward Freers joined the firm. In 1935, Edward Freers graduated from Worsham’s Mortuary School and returned as a licensed funeral director. Following Werner’s death in 1944, Ralph sold Ed Freers a partnership in the business. The business continued that way until 1964, when Ed Freers purchased the entire business from Ralph.
In 1970, Ed’s son, David Freers, started working at the funeral home following his graduation from the Milwaukee Institute of Mortuary Science. On January 1, 1978, Ed sold the funeral home to his son, David. He continued to work at the funeral home until his death in 1986.
The Ralph J. Wittich Funeral Home served the families of Muscatine at the same location for sixty-four years until the merger with the Riley Funeral Home in 1996, when they then moved into their new location at 1931 Houser Street.
History of Riley Funeral Home
Walter Riley owned and operated the Riley Chapel in Iowa City from 1936-1941. In 1941, Walter Riley purchased the Myers Funeral Home in Muscatine and renamed it the Riley Funeral Home.
Walter continued operating the business until 1956, when his son, Edward Riley graduated from Worsham�s College of Mortuary Science and joined the business. Ed then served two years in the United States Army from 1957-1959 and then rejoined the Riley Funeral Home in 1959.
Ed purchased the funeral home from his father in 1963. He continued running the business until 1988, when his daughter, Jennifer Riley-Vogel, graduated from Worsham�s College of Mortuary Science and joined the business.
Ed and Jennifer operated the funeral home together until 1996, when Jennifer purchased the business. The Riley Funeral Home merged with the Ralph J. Wittich Funeral Home and moved into their new location at 1931 Houser Street in 1996.