In 1985, the name was changed to Ballard and Sons Funeral Homes with the inclusion of both sons entering the business; Jon in 1977 and Marty in 1980.
To this day, the Ballard's have maintained the local tradition of funeral service in the area with clean and updated facilities and a caring desire to assist families. Both sons' give much credit for their high standard of care they demand in the profession to their parents who created a ministry of personal care by reaching out to the community, the way the community had reached out to them.
George and Dorothea Ballard came to Middletown in 1949. George had worked for many years as a Funeral Director at Stanley Mortuary and V.T.Davis Funeral Home in New Castle. Dorothea had been director of Nursing Services at Henry County Hospital.
They purchased the Ralph Niblock Funeral Home on Columbia Avenue in Middletown. They soon moved into a partnership with Raymond C. Shirey and purchased the Forrest Fisher Funeral home at 118 South 5th in 1951. This had also been known as the Davis St. John Mortuary.
Mr. Shirey had been in business for many years in Daleville working with his father-in-law, Wilbur Polhemus at the Polhemus and Shirey Mortuary at 8212 South Walnut Street. The partnership prospered and in 1972, George and Dorothea purchased the assets of Mr. Shirey shortly before his death.
Jones and Polhemus
The firm was known for its ornate horse drawn carriage, black for the adults, and white for children. The family carriage was polished with coach lites on both sides.
The funeral home was known throughout the 30's for its neon sign on the top of the mortuary and the blue clock on the front porch.
Mr. Polhemus dressed for services, many of which he preached, in black tails and stove top hat. It was his trademark, to ride the carriage/hearse to the cemetery holding tightly to the reigns of the two horses leading the procession.
The Daleville funeral home was originally constructed as a residence for two brothers. Each of them had equal rooms both upstairs and downstairs. They separated themsleves by a unique double stairway which is still in pristine condition and graces the entryway of the funeral home.
Jones and Polhemus began service in the home with a small office in the rear of the building. Here, Mr. Polemus, an ordained Quaker minister, made both funeral arrangements and conducted wedding consultations.
The Turn of the Century
The large barn across from the funeral home on Walnut Street housed the carriages and the stable area for the animals. The barn is now a personal home and can be seen directly across from our funeral home in Daleville.
The building behind the funeral home in Middletown was erected in 1888. It was also a stable but was soon converted to house the offices of The Middletown News.
Today this building is our funeral planning center "carriage house" which consists of our customization showroom for personalizing casket panals and casket embroidry. The selection room has been newly remodeled and features a unique center in which a family may select and design the casket they desire.
From the turn of the century, funeral service has been a part of the Middletown and Daleville communities.
Both funeral homes had stables for horses and ornate carriages for carrying family member as well as casketed remains.
Jones and Polhemus Mortuary on Walnut Street in Daleville, began service to the community serving all of the Delaware, Henry, and Madison County communities.
We've Come a Long Way
The home was directly across the street from the elegant Welsh Hotel in Middletown, which was a hub of activity during the 1920's and 30's.
During this time period, the home was known for housing residents such as the famous movie starlet, Claudette Colbert.
The original funeral home in Middletown was built as a residence. The structure has cross beams of hand hewn solid oak beams. The walls are solid brick with a thickness of 8-10 inches.
The home was built for the Strickler family of Middletown and designed with 5 oaks fireplaces lit by natural gas with light fixures the same in all rooms. The staircase is 14 foot to the second floor with quarter-sawed oak carving and ornamental spindels. The fire places have original marble with beveled glass.