Our History

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 merging with the Riley Funeral Home in 1996, when they then moved into their new location at 1931 Houser Street.
Walter Riley owned and operated the Riley Chapel in Iowa City from 1936-1941. In 1941, Walter Riley purchased the Myers Funeral Home and it then became 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, along with her husband, Joseph, operated the funeral home together until 1996, when Jennifer and Joseph purchased the business. In 1996, the Ralph J. Wittich and Riley families became one business and built a new funeral home at 1931 Houser Street.

In December of 2016, the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home became a Fourth Generation, Family Owned Business.