Modern funeral service began in Orrville in 1886 when William Winterstein and E.W. Naftzger, partners in the funeral business, offered funeral services in addition to their furniture store business. In 1904, at the death of Winterstein, James Stansbury acquired Winterstein’s interest and the business was called Stansbury and Naftzger Furniture and Undertaking.
In 1916, the partners separated, with Naftzger retaining the furniture business and Stansbury retaining the undertaking business, forming a partnership with Henry Leickheim. Stansbury died in 1922 and Leikheim operated independently until 1929 when Adlee Frey became a partner. The name was changed to Leikheim and Frey Funeral Service. The business operated from offices on East Maerket Street in Orrville and funeral services were generally held in local churches and at the private homes of the partners.
In 1937, Orie Gresser moved to Orrville and was hired by the partners. Leikheim retired in 1944 and Orie Gresser acquired Leikheim’s interest. The business changed the name to Frey and Gresser Funeral Directors. In 1959, Adlee Frey retired and Orie Gresser became the sole owner, operating under Gresser Funeral Home. A modern funeral home was built next to his house on North Elm Street. In 1960, Orie’s son, Robert, joined the business and later, in 1978, grandson Jonathon joined.
Orie Gresser died in 1983 and the funeral home continues with Robert and Jon as the owners and operators. In 1989, the funeral home was expanded and completely renovated as it appears today.
Robert L. Gresser