Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary was woven into the fabric of the City of Elmhurst long before becoming a reality in 1958.
A. Pedersen, known as “Pete” to the many people he called
“friend”, was raised in Elmhurst, Illinois and began learning
his profession in the Mortuary Sciences at age 10, tutored by his uncle,
R. R. Robillard, owner of Robillard Funeral Home and Furniture [long located
at the corner of York Road and First Avenue in Elmhurst]. For 24 years
families grew to trust this affable man named Pedersen. What was destined
to be a lifelong vocation was put on hold when he enlisted in the U.S.
Marine Corp, serving through WWII. He returned to civilian life, Elmhurst…
and his Uncle’s Funeral Home.
Within five years of the war’s end, a discharged Naval Officer and recently licensed Funeral Director, Frans O. Ryberg, began his career at Robillard Funeral Home [which was no longer related to the furniture business]. Quoting Vern’s description of Frans “he was the Gentleman’s Gentleman. A 6' 3" gentle giant with all the natural attributes of a person that really cares about people”. Frans, however, always looked up to “Pete” as “a man who finds the best in everyone by being the best to everyone”. Their camaraderie was strong.
Time passed and both married. Vern and Frances (who preferred to be called Fran). Frans and Ruth. Children came to these Elmhurst couples and all bonded into lifelong friendships…even when the road took an unforeseeable turn. R. R. Robillard passed away….as did the employment of Vern Pedersen and Frans Ryberg.
Not a man to remain idle, Vern completed his long dreamed
of plans for “The Pedersen Mortuary” and took on the task
of its creation. In the interim, he and Frans began an association with
Miller Keyes Funeral Home, which was located in the building now housing
Pfund and Clint Florists of Elmhurst. Charles Miller Keyes told Pete and
Frans that he would retire only after “The Pedersen Mortuary”
was a reality and “his boys” were on their own path.
In 1958… with Frans Ryberg as his staunch assistant, Pedersen Mortuary was a reality. Miller Keyes retired, but his business remained open until 1960 to afford Vern and Frans a location for funerals during final construction periods.
By 1960, realizing that business had outgrown the original building, Vern Pedersen and now full partner Frans Ryberg, added the east addition, more than doubling the size of the building, inclusive of a crematory, and forever changing the name to “Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary”.
“Family Owned since 1958” is displayed with pride and remains true today. Frans Oscar Ryberg retired in 1971. Vernon Arthur Pedersen passed away in 1974 of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, shortly after Walter D. Kozlow and Archie R. Price became the new owners who upheld the traditions established by Vern and Frans. Frans Ryberg lived a long retirement, in northern Wisconsin, until his death in 2009 at age 91.
Walter and Shirley Kozlow and Archie and Lucille Price (Walter and Lucille being brother and sister) were not novices to the Funeral Profession, each couple being owners of their own Funeral Homes. Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary,once again, formed a cohesive family partnership that was to perpetuate, truly, the pride and honor of “family owned”.
Walter and Archie began to carry on the tradition set by Vern and Frans. The Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary…..435 N. York Road, Elmhurst, Illinois….having entered the 21st century….still bases all on the “tradition”. Archie Price passed away at age 87 in October of 2010 after 64 years as a Funeral Director yet his testament to his profession continues. Now, you ask, what is “the tradition of Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary”?
Frans Ryberg often said his beloved mortuary was founded on a simple principle: “The Golden Rule. Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary and its staff will always live by the practice of the Golden Rule. That’s why we’re honored to be Funeral Directors. Call it a tradition if you like.”
Pedersen-Ryberg Mortuary……Where Service Matters.