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Our Story

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service and have the highest integrity. We are proud to be the longest continuous operating business in Linn County, Iowa.

In 1847, a cabinetmaker, A.J. Kramer included making caskets and providing funeral service for the town of Marion and surrounding area. The  business continued under several ownerships, including Pingrey and later Yocom, until J. Frank and Mabel Beach purchased it in 1930. In 1933, Kenneth V. and Faye Beach Murdoch joined Faye's parents in partnership. It wasn't until 1949, when the Sarchett Funeral Home in Center Point and the Sorensen Funeral Home in Walker were purchased, that the Murdoch Funeral Homes became the business name. In 1956, George Murdoch joined the firm and in 1965 the Hunte Funeral Home in Springville and the Passmore Funeral Homes in Central City and Coggon were purchased to enable the business to better serve the north half of Linn County.

In 1973, the Beatty-Beurle Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids was purchased to enable the business to better serve all of metropolitan Cedar Rapids and Marion. (An interesting footnote to this purchase is that J. Frank Beach started his Funeral Director career at the Beatty Funeral home 50 years before in 1922. Frank, who grew up on a farm between Mt. Vernon and Marion, and his father had a livery business in Mt. Vernon that served funeral homes in the area with carriages. In 1914, Frank purchased the first motorized Hearse in Linn County. His daughter, Faye, told about taking the train to Des Moines with her father to pick up the new Hearse. Because of his association with funeral homes, Frank at the age of 49, decided to become a Funeral Director and at the age of 57 he became the owner of the Yocom Funeral Home in Marion.) After being located for 55 years by the City Park in downtown Marion, a new Murdoch facility was opened in 1983 off of Highway 151 East.

Linwood Cemetery in Cedar Rapids was purchased in 1985 and the Beatty-Beurle-Murdoch Funeral Home was relocated to Wilson Avenue, SW and the new facility was named the Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home. The heritage of the Linwood Cemetery, dating back to the founding years of Cedar Rapids, was enhanced by providing a funeral home at the Wilson Avenue S.W. location. In 2013, The Legacy Center at Murdoch-Linwood was added to our funeral home on Wilson Avenue. The Legacy Center is a reception and event space complete with catered meal and beverage service.

In 1995, the Murdoch Funeral Homes extended their services to Delaware County by purchasing the Bohnenkamp-Theulen Funeral Home in Manchester. For many years the Bohnenkamp Funeral Home (formerly also known as Brown, Gill or Vernon Funeral Home) operated out of the historic Tirrill Mansion (pictured at the left) on North Franklin Street. The original Tirrill mansion when built in 1913 boasted hot running water, an elevator and a ballroom on the third floor. Through the years many changes had been made to the building and in 1998 the business was relocated to a new ground-level facility on West Main Street.

The Clifton-Murdoch Funeral Home in Earlville has a long and interesting history.  It was established in the 1860’s by Fenton Werkmeister.  At that time when a death occured, the ”mortician” many times went to the home with tools and equipment to prepare the body there. Wakes were held in family homes also. John Werkmeister took over the firm upon his father’s death. John Clifton as a young man with the financial backing of an uncle, Henry Bergman, purchased the funeral establishment and furniture store upon John Werkmeister’s death in 1922. Jim Clifton worked for his uncle starting at age 13 and while he was in school. In 1964, after education, military service and marriage, Jim purchased the funeral home and operated it along with various other businesses. In 2004, after 40 years of ownership, the Murdoch Family purchased the operation from Jim & Connie Clifton. Jim retired from the funeral home in February, 2018.

Today, John Murdoch and his sister, Leigh Ann Murdoch represent the fourth generation of the Murdoch family to own and operate the Murdoch Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, now located at six locations in Linn and Delaware counties. John's daughters, Jaime Murdoch-Steward, a licensed funeral director, and Hailey Murdoch, Cemetery Administrator, are also active with the family funeral homes.

With the Linwood Cemetery and the addition of a crematory at Marion and the Legacy Center at Murdoch-Linwood, the Murdoch Funeral Homes offer a complete range of services directed by a very professional and capable staff. From a cabinetmaker in 1847 to the modern day funeral directors at the Murdoch Funeral Homes, the Murdoch family has proudly carried on the heritage and tradition with dignity and professional care. Five generations of family ownership and service could only be accomplished because of a dedicated and capable staff over all the years and for that the Murdoch family is very grateful.

                                                   George F. Murdoch, In Loving Memory                                                                               (1931-2004)

George graduated from Marion High School and Dartmouth College. Served with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Captain. In l956, George and his wife Marlyce returned to Marion and in 1960, after graduating from Worsham College of Mortuary Science, became a licensed funeral director, partner and general manager of the Murdoch Funeral Homes. Son, John, and daughter, Leigh Ann, took over management and ownerhip in 1992. George was proud to have followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Frank Beach and his father, Kenneth, and also proud to have son, John, and daughter, Leigh Ann, continue the family heritage. George died April 30, 2004.