Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the March 30, 2017 edition of the Star-Argosy. Pick up a copy of this April 6 print edition to read about Richard Ebersole’s role in the Conway Springs ambulance service and the creation of Conway Springs EMS.
By Sarah Gooding
Every morning, Richard Ebersole shined his shoes, dressed in a shirt and tie and checked to make sure he was meticulously groomed.
He then headed to work at Ebersole Mortuary, the family business, where he applied the same dedication to perfection to his customers, who also were his friends and neighbors.
“He was an icon on this Main Street,” said his son, Brent Ebersole. “He dedicated himself to helping families in Conway Springs and the surrounding communities through the hardest times in their lives.”
Richard Ebersole, 85, died March 24, and his funeral services March 28 were attended by many of the community members who relied on Richard Ebersole during their own times of grief.
“He was committed to the business and to being there for area families. Above all, he was a gentleman and a professional,” Brent Ebersole said. “He never retired. He was here until the end of September, as far as coming to the mortuary, and he would beat me here every morning.”
Brent said Richard was hardworking, organized and a perfectionist.
“He was a legend among the people around us,” Brent said.
Ebersole Mortuary has been in the family since 1919, and Brent said his father has done three generations of funerals in Conway Springs and the surrounding communities, including Viola, Milton, Norwich and Argonia.
“We’ve been involved with a lot of folks,” Brent said, adding, “It’s amazing to see the influx of phone calls, cards and memorials.”
Brent said many of the notes have expressed appreciation for Richard Ebersole’s presence at funerals, with words such as, “He helped us get through the loss of my wife/mother/child/brother. We couldn’t have done it without him.”
Richard Ebersole’s legacy also inspired both of his sons to follow in the same business.
“My brother and I both are embalmers and funeral directors,” Brent said. “We have some very big shoes to fill.
“He’s an icon. He’s just one-of-a-kind and he’s going to be missed.”