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Our History

The Beginnings | Loss and Expansion | Horse Drawn Hearse | Current Board of Directors | Past Managers

The Beginnings
Martin B. Smemoe
Martin B. Smemoe

D uring the early Twenties, M.B. Smemoe, distressed about the rising costs of funerals in many place, made plans to alleviate the burdens of the bereaved. In 1924, he began to make definite plans for organizing the Minnehaha County Burial Association with family memberships that would entitle those families to reduced expenses for funerals. After making trips to the state capitol in Pierre, he learned that they could secure a charter for such an organization.

Mr. Smemoe, with the help of Colton mortician E.A. Berven, canvassed the county to obtain family memberships at $10.00 per share. The significant purpose of the Minnehaha County Burial Association was to provide efficient and dignified funeral services at reasonable prices. The association was formed in late 1928, and the business operation began in the building in which the Baltic Chapel is now located.

The first public meeting was held August 14, 1928, in Baltic with the first share purchased by Martin Erickson. Many shares were sold over the years with two Board Members known to have sold many. They were Lars Wold and Granville Grinde.

The Charter Board of Directors included Martin Erickson, Lewis Simonson, Ole Smemoe, Paul Riswold, E.A. Berven, and M.B. Smemoe. Erickson, elected the first president of the Minnehaha County Burial Association, served in that capacity for the first nine years.

The Minnehaha County Burial Association started operation in the present Baltic Chapel in early 1929. At the annual meeting of 1938, members of the Association approved the purchase of the building for $500.00. The structure was built in 1902 by O.J. Questad and was named the O.J. Questad Pioneer Store. In 1955, the Funeral Home was completely remodeled and an open house was held on Memorial Day of that year. The Association grew and its name was changed to "The Minnehaha Funeral Home" on November 19, 1955.

    ©2006-14 Minnehaha Funeral Home
180 St. Olaf Avenue, Baltic, SD
(605) 529-5411

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