Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home was established as Dowd Funeral Home in July 1901, when Harry H. Dowd purchased the business of Hobson & Son Funeral Home, owned by Benjamin W. Hobson.
Mr. Hobson, a native of Jefferson County, Ohio, moved to Westport, Indiana, in 1867 and opened a funeral home there. He later conducted the same business in New London, Indiana and Dupont, Indiana, before moving to North Vernon. At the time, Mr. Dowd purchased the Hobson & Son Funeral Home, Mr. Hobson's son, Jose, was in partnership with his father.
Mr. Dowd and his son, Fletcher, operated the funeral home along with a furniture and variety store in downtown North Vernon. In 1939, Fletcher Dowd took over the business from his father.
A house on South State Street was purchased in 1938. The funeral home was moved there in 1940 and remains the present location. The Queen Anne style house was built around 1890 by W.W. Olcott, and later was the residence of George Litchfield, Sr. It was reported that a crowd of 1,500 visited the facility during a two-day open house hosted by Fletcher Dowd and his son, Thomas.
Fletcher Dowd retired in 1958 and sold the funeral home to Charles W. Dove, who changed the name to Dove Funeral Home.
A portion of the business was sold by Mr. Dove in July 1974 to an employee, Jerry D. Sharp, who had been associated with the funeral home since 1956. After Mr. Sharp became sole owner in 1978, the funeral home was known as Dove & Sharp Funeral Home.
From 1975-1985, Ralph Jordan, a third generation funeral director and owner of the former Jordan Funeral Home in Vernon was associated with the firm.
Eugene L. Rudicel worked at the funeral home while in high school. He became a full time member of the staff following graduation from mortuary school and became a partner of the firm in 1989. A few years later, the name was changed to Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home. Mr. Rudicel has been the sole owner since Mr. Sharp's retirement in 1998.
Several additions have been made to the funeral home over the years. Two rooms were added in 1978, the original chapel was enlarged in 1982 and a garage was added in 1984. The home now has two chapels and in 2010 a spacious upstairs lounge that includes, kitchen, childrens room, sitting room with gas log fireplace was added. Featured in the downstairs lounge is an extensive collection of Jennings County church plates. Historic photos of the area are displayed throughout the home, and a display of local postcards decorates the hallway. In 1989, as a tribute to the memory of those served, a lighted fountain was constructed near the entrance, in 2013 the fountain was transformed into a natural stone waterfall.
A 1914 horse-drawn hearse was purchased in 1992 from the former Eldo Dodd Funeral Home in Paris Crossing. After restoration, the hearse was placed in a specially built gazebo at the front of the home. This Jennings County treasure is available for use by the families we serve.
Although the name and staff have changed through the years, the caring and professional service given by Harry H. Dowd, and before him by Benjamin W. Hobson, has remained constant. What began in the 19th Century continues in the 21st Century.