The History of Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Wausau, Wisconsin.
The Helke tradition of funeral service began in 1871, when the Helke family emigrated from Germany to Wausau. Beginning in 1871, the funeral home is Marathon County’s oldest continually operated business.
August Helke and his son, Charles, made furniture, bar and store fixtures, as well as church cabinets. They started Helke Furniture Company, located at 319 Fourth Street, Wausau, in 1874. Since coffins differed little from fine upholstered furniture, the two craftsmen naturally evolved into the funeral business.
In 1926, Charles bought a house in Wausau on the site of what is now The Philmore, and used it exclusively for funerals. He was among the first licensed embalmers in the state.
In 1939, Charles and his son Carl built Wausau's first funeral home located at 413 Jefferson Street. The founder's grandsons, Charles and Richard, were part of the business by 1962, when Helke's built a second funeral home on Wausau's expanding west side, at 302 Spruce Street. This remains the current site of Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
The staff today at Helke Funeral Home has carried on the Helke Family tradition of caring, professional service to the area…a tradition they are proud to continue.