Finefrock Chapel

Snyder Family Adds Finefrock Chapel
in Mansfield

MANSFIELD:  Almost 30 years of a kind of corporate rollercoaster ride for the Finefrock Funeral Home came to an end in mid-December 2007 when the Snyder family bought the Marion Avenue location.

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Houston-based Service Corporation International, the most recent owner of the business that dates to the early part of the 20th century, abruptly closed Finefrock on Nov. 9.

Snyder Funeral Homes bought the building Dec. 14 and has reopened it as the Finefrock Chapel of the Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home.

“We’re very pleased,” J. Todd Snyder said of what is now the family’s 12th location in five counties. “Sometimes big corporations don’t do the personal service business as well as local families with ties to the communities.”

He said opening the Finefrock Chapel will also take some of the pressure off the family’s busy Lexington Avenue home.

Snyder stressed his family was not allowed to buy the Finefrock Funeral Home business, its books or other assets, only the building at Marion Avenue and Maple Street. One of the first orders of business has been to contact people who had prearranged and pre-funded funeral plans with Finefrock.

An ad was published in the News Journal about the closing and letters have been sent, but many of the addresses may have changed. Snyder offered the example of a person who paid for their funeral years ago but is now living in a nursing home.

Snyder Funeral Homes will honor those funeral contracts, and contacts are being made with nursing home administrators and others. If people do nothing, their plans will be handled by an Akron area funeral home. J. Todd Snyder suggested anyone with an account with Finefrock Funeral Home contact his office at 419-525-4411 for information on easily returning the account The Finefrock Chapel of Snyder Funeral Homes.

Snyder said Don Finefrock, now retired in Naples, Florida, after selling the business in the late 1980s, was delighted to hear the facility would again be operated by a local family. Nine months after Finefrock sold it to Paragon Family Services, it was sold to the Loewen Group, and the corporate changes began.

The large south chapel in the building, which features five viewing rooms, has been named in honor of Don Finefrock.

J.H. Finefrock Sr. bought the business, formerly known as the Niman Funeral Home, and moved it to Fourth Street, near the News Journal. It moved to the current building in the early 1950s. An addition was added in 1963. The front portico and other renovations are more recent.

J.B. Love will be the general manager of the location. He worked for Finefrock for 22 years and has been with the Snyder family for 12 years.

“It’s all I’ve ever worked at,” Love said of a career that began with mowing grass and ambulance work. He called the opening of the Finefrock Chapel “a wonderful opportunity to come back and serve the families of Mansfield and Richland County.”

Snyder’s grandfather, Ora O. Snyder, began the family business in 1922 after caring for the horses of another funeral director. He followed his father, Paul, into the profession. The 12 locations employ 20 full-time and 25 part-time people in a business Snyder said prides itself on making “every service very, very personal.”

While he plans to “spiff up the place a little bit,” Snyder said, “We are pleased to be open so quickly.”