History of Frain Mortuary

The history of Frain Mortuary is a storied one that began over 150 years ago. In 1867, Mr. Henry Kahler (1814-1868) opened a furniture and undertaking business in Star City, IN.  He and his wife, Nancy, moved to Van Buren Township in Pulaski County, IN. The elder Henry had previously worked as a Constable in Monticello, IN and a laborer in Bluffton, IN. Henry was a native of Pennsylvania and was married to Nancy Creighton, a native of West Virginia.  Mr. and Mrs. Kahler’s youngest son, also named Henry Kahler (1849-1926), was born in Bluffton. Under the instruction of his father, he was taught cabinet-making and undertaking. In 1868, upon the death of his father and at the age of only nineteen years old, young Henry took over the family business.  In 1881, young Henry married Pauline South in Owensville, OH. In 1882, Mr. Kahler formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. William E. South (1845-1922) who, along with his wife, Margaret Souder, relocated to Star City from Ohio that same year. For several years, Henry was associated in business with Mr. William Jacob Leiter (1882-1968) of Leiter’s Ford, IN.  In the spring of 1919, together with Mr. Stanley Matthew Needham (1873-1920) of Ohio, the three men opened a furniture and undertaking store in Winamac; the name of the firm was Kahler, Leiter & Co. Mr. Leiter later joined in the active management of the Winamac store following Mr. Needham’s death in 1920. Mr. Kahler had successfully carried on the family business for over fifty years and in 1922, Kahler, Leiter & Co. was sold to William N. Watt (1898-1967) of Richmond, IN.  When Henry Kahler died four years later, his obituary referred to him as a pioneer businessman of Star City and Winamac. The Kahler family and their successors are just the beginning to the rich history of Frain Mortuary.  

In 1926, Mr. Frank E. Keller of Winamac bought the furniture and undertaking business from Mr. Watt.  Later that year, Mr. Russell F. Fry, a Star City native employed by the W.N. Watt Funeral Homes, joined Mr. Keller in partnership in the Keller & Fry Funeral Home & Furniture Store.  The business was located at 103 North Market Street in downtown Winamac.

In 1929, Mr. Walter G. Lange, a native of Denham, IN, terminated his employment at the Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Home in Indianapolis, IN after purchasing Mr. Keller’s interest in the Keller & Fry Funeral Home & Furniture Store.  The new partnership was called Fry & Lange Funeral Home & Furniture Store. The business remained at 103 North Market Street.  

In 1935, Mr. Fry and Mr. Lange purchased the William S. Huddleston home, located at 305 East Main Street in Winamac.  Later that year, a room was added to the house to serve as an embalming and preparation room. Additions were made to the building in 1945 and 1957 to provide an area for casket display and a garage facility to accommodate funeral vehicles as well as the ambulance.  Today, the business remains at 305 East Main Street, serving as the longest operating funeral establishment in Pulaski County.

In 1939, Mr. Kenneth Seidel began his employment at Fry & Lange Funeral Home & -Furniture Store.  In 1950, Mr. Seidel and Mr. Joseph Blastic purchased the furniture store from Mr. Fry and Mr. Lange.  It was at this time the funeral business became separate from the furniture store and began operation under a new name, Seidel and Blastic Furniture Store.  When Mr. Seidel purchased Mr. Blastic’s share of the business in 1967, he named it the Seidel Furniture Store.

In 1951, Mr. Maxwell C. Frain (1927-2012), son of Clyde Harold “Buddy” and Eithel Wilson Frain, began working at Fry and Lange Funeral Home with a variety of responsibilities which also included running the ambulance.  He had previously been employed as a mechanic at Buddy Frain’s Mobil Filling Station and a school bus driver. Mr. Frain became a licensed funeral director in 1953. Max and his wife Jean Clark Frain (1930-2016) purchased Mr. Fry's interest in the business in 1961.  In 1969, Mr. and Mrs. Frain became sole owners of the business after purchasing Mr. Lange’s interest. The couple ran the firm together before their two sons joined them. 

In 1971, Mr. Daniel C. Frain, eldest son of Max and Jean Clark Frain, began working at the funeral home and running the ambulance. Dan became a licensed funeral director in 1972.  Dan attended Purdue University and graduated from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science.

The funeral home received extensive renovation and modernization in 1973.  In 1976, the funeral home name (which had remained Fry & Lange Funeral Home) was changed to Frain Mortuary.  It was around this time period that the Frain’s (like many other funeral homes across the state) discontinued funeral home operated ambulance services.  

In 1980, Max Frain purchased property on south Monticello Street from William E. Cole that was formerly utilized as the Kennedy & Cole Funeral Home.  In that same year, Mr. Samuel J. Frain, youngest son of Max and Jean Clark Frain, joined the funeral business. Sam became a licensed funeral director in 1981.   He attended Ball State University and gradated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service.  

In 1989, the two brothers purchased the business from their parents Max and Jean Frain following Max’s retirement.  The facility was renovated in 1992 to allow complete handicap accessibility. In 2001, a state of the art embalming and preparation room was installed. 

In January 2005, Dan and Sam purchased the Querry-Ulbricht Funeral Homes located in Francesville and Medaryville from Mr. Bob Ulbricht and his wife Barb. In that same year, the Frains did extensive remodeling of the facilities in Francesville and have continued to update and modernize the facility.  

The history of the Querry-Ulbricht Funeral Homes began with Mr. Harry G. Querry.  Mr. Querry started the Querry Funeral Home in Medaryville in June of 1935. He then purchased the Burson Funeral Home in Francesville from Claude Burson in 1946. The two funeral homes were operated by Harry and his wife Rachel until 1969.  In 1964, Bob and Barb Ulbricht moved to Francesville from southern Indiana to form a partnership with Harry Querry. In 1969, the Ulbricht’s purchased the business from Mr. Querry and the business became known as the Querry-Ulbricht Funeral Home.  In 2005, Mr. Ulbricht retired from the funeral business. Today, the funeral homes operate under the Frain Mortuary name. In Francesville and Medaryville, the funeral homes are referred to as the Querry-Ulbricht Chapels.  

In 2006, Mr. Jon Maxwell Frain, son of Dan and Jacki Gordon Frain, began working at the funeral home.  Jon became a licensed funeral director in 2009. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University and an Associates degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science.

The Frains constructed a new funeral chapel in Medaryville in the fall of 2007 to replace the aging home that had served the community for many decades. The facility is modern and well planned to accommodate the needs of the community including an ample sized parking lot.

In 2016, Sam Frain sold his interest in the firm to his brother Dan Frain.  Later the next year, Dan and his Jon entered into a partnership.

In 2017, the home that sat south of the funeral home in Francesville was razed to make room for a parking lot and in 2019, a completely accessible handicap family restroom was installed.

Many improvements have been made to the facilities over the years.  The Frains have always provided compassionate and professional services as well as well-maintained facilities and automotive equipment.  

For over 150 years, Frain Mortuary has served the many families of Pulaski County and the surrounding communities.  The Frains are truly sensitive to the needs of everyone they serve. They continue to assist families in any way possible and to relieve the burdens felt by those who have experienced the death of a loved one.  Frain Mortuary offers burial, cremation, pre need planning and monuments.