Compassionate service is his trademark
Each week we’ll be featuring a Marion County business in our Business Bio section. Learn about products, services and people here in your own county.
After serving Marion and its surrounding communities for 35 years, Ty Zeiner of Zeiner Funeral Home is still on the job providing end-of-life services to bereaved families. He has been involved in the business for 47 years.
He said he learned the art of caring for bereaved families while observing the operators of a funeral home in his hometown of Minneapolis, Kansas. At 13, he got a job doing maintenance work at Hawks Funeral Home and working at the family’s furniture store.
At 14, he drove a hearse, still legal at the time, and at 15 and 16, assisted with removals. He also helped at funerals.
“By the time I was a senior, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
He attended Cloud County Community College in Concordia and then San Francisco College of Mortuary Services.
After a one-year apprenticeship in Minneapolis and two-and-a-half years at a funeral home in Hutchinson, he took over management of a mortuary in Jetmore.
Zeiner became friends with several other morticians, including Jerry and Dorothy Harp of Marion, who took over Thompson Funeral Home in 1969 and named it Thompson-Harp Funeral Home.
In January 1984, the Harps asked him to come and work for them with the understanding he would buy the home from them when they retired. He and his wife, Janet, bought the home in October 1987 and named it Zeiner Funeral Home.
“I checked my records, and on Jan. 1, I had spent 40 years on call 24/7,” he said. “I spend 65 to 80 hours a week on the job.”
Through the years, Zeiner bought and sold several other funeral homes in the central Kansas area. One that he still owns is Lamb Funeral Home in Whitewater. He also operates homes in Marion, Hillsboro, Council Grove, and Herington.
Zeiner does the embalming in all five locations. He said when he embalms a body, his mind is on surviving family members. He says he wants to make the body look as nice as possible for those who knew the person.
He said if a body is to be buried within 24 hours of death, it does not have to be embalmed. Cremation is also an option.
Zeiner has six full-time and five part-time employees. Two former employees — Reuben Fauerborn and Jared Jost — served apprenticeships and have their own funeral homes today.
The funeral home in Marion is 102 years old. It was built as a private residence and became a funeral home in 1935. Zeiner said it was always well maintained. Some additions were made to the west of the building.
Now 60, Zeiner said he doesn’t consider what he does as a job, but, rather, a way of life. He looks on his past 35 years with satisfaction.
“I’ve taken great pride in my dedication to Marion and surrounding communities,” he said. “Some of my patrons have become great friends.”
He and his wife divorced in 1998. They have four children, all graduates of Marion High School — Brad of Salida, Colorado; Chelsea of Marion; Joel of Ft. Collins, Colorado; and Julia of Bend, Oregon.
Last modified March 28, 2019