Established in 1843, Mott & Henning Funeral Home, P.C. is one of the oldest continuing businesses in Illinois. The business current building was constructed by W.B. Diggs in 1892. The upper floor of the building contained an opera house, while the main floor area was comprised of several stores. Not until 1910 did the building become a funeral business. The funeral home has been renamed several times, but the goal has remained the same: Surpassing Service.
This service goal was first sought by James Mott. Born in Kent County, England, in 1803, he immigrated to Sacketts Harbor, New York in 1821 and there learned the trade of cabinet-making. A On February 20, 1843, the James Mott family established residence in Athens, Illinois and opened their business in a building on the southeast corner of Main and Hargrave Streets. This business was comprised of both a furniture store as well as an undertaking company. During the 1800s, funerals were conducted in homes and churches, and visitations took place in the home. James Mott was able to use his cabinet-making skills to build caskets, and one of his original caskets still remains at the current funeral home location. James died September 15, 1873, and his son, J. Wellington Mott, became the second generation of Mott to maintain the family businesses. During that time, the funeral home operated under the name of Mott Undertaking Company. After Wellington Mott’s death in 1879, his son Allen Mott, then nineteen years old, acquired the business and later hired Mel Sawyer. Mel served as an undertaker and devoted 48 years to the business.
In 1910, Allen Mott purchased the building at 206 North Main Street where he relocated his undertaking company and furniture business. Two of Allen’s children were affiliated with the business: Olive (Mott) Cantrall served as the organist, and Harold Mott served as an undertaker. In 1921, the business was renamed Mott & Son Funeral Home. Allen owned and operated Mott & Son Funeral Home as well as the furniture store until his death in 1929. Upon his fathers death, Harold Mott acquired the business. In 1938, Harold remodeled the opera house and furniture store, making it into a single function building: a funeral home. Architect Seymour Van Meter of Athens designed the renovation which resulted in making the upper floor the casket display area and the lower floor the visitation-funeral area.
In 1941, (William) Emory Henning and his wife, Marjorie, joined Harold Mott in the funeral business. Emory was employed as a funeral director and embalmer while Marjorie served as an Office Assistant. The Hennings worked alongside Harold Mott until his death in 1968, then Emory and Marjorie purchased the funeral home on January 1, 1969. The name of the business was once again modified from Mott & Son Funeral Home to Mott & Henning Funeral Home. Paul R. (P.R.) Covey was briefly affiliated with the funeral home as a funeral director and embalmer. P.R. assisted after Harold Mott’s death, before Emory and Marjorie’s sons joined the business. P.R. retired in 1973.
In September of 1973, twin brothers Robert (Bob) Henning and Richard (Dick) Henning, sons of Emory and Marjorie, joined the family business as funeral directors and embalmers. The brothers became the second generation of Henning affiliated with the funeral home. On January 1, 1979, Mott & Henning Funeral Home became a professional corporation, therefore adding the initials P.C. to the end of their business name: Mott & Henning Funeral Home, P.C. In 1993, the business celebrated its 150th anniversary along with the association of Emory and Marjorie’s daughter, Alice (Henning) Bonick, who served as a part-time funeral director until December of 2008.
In a continuing effort to meet the expanding funeral needs of the community, a building addition began in March of 1995. Shortly after the ground-breaking, Bob Henning died unexpectedly on April 25, 1995, after devoting 22 years of service to the business. The completed addition was dedicated in his memory on July 7, 1996. Following Bob’s death, Karla (Engel) Henning, Dick’s wife, became an active member of the funeral home where she currently serves as Office Manager.
On December 3, 1997, Emory Henning died, having dedicated over 56 years of service to Mott & Henning Funeral Home, P.C. Upon Emory’s death, Dick acquired the family business. In March of 2000, Dick and Karla’s son, Richard (Rich) Henning, joined the business to become the third generation of Henning to be affiliated with the funeral home. He serves as a funeral director and embalmer. Marjorie Henning died April 14, 2005, and very shortly thereafter, on May 27, 2005, Dick Henning died unexpectedly, having dedicated nearly 32 years of service to the business. Upon Dick’s death, Rich Henning acquired the family business. In the fall of 2005, Greg Bowles was hired as a funeral director and embalmer, and he left in 2012 to move to Utah with his wife. In March, 2015, Kelci Kennett joined the business and currently serves as a licensed funeral director and embalmer.
Through the years, the funeral home has been renamed, relocated, and seen new faces. However, the goal has and will remain the same: Surpassing Service.
Mott & Henning Funeral Home, P.C.
Phone: 217-636-8212 e-mail: email@example.com