With a history stretching back 145 years, Cozean Funeral Home is one of the oldest mortuary establishments in Missouri. Their commitment of service to the community is deeply rooted in Missouri history, and remains plainly evident in everything they do today.
Organized in 1864 by Thomas Lang, one of Farmington 's outstanding leaders during the 19th century, the firm was a sideline of Lang's wagon manufacturing business. There is no doubt the business was born of need as the Civil War Battle of Fort Davidson brought heavy Confederate casualties to the area. It is estimated that 1,500 Confederate soldiers died in this ill-fated campaign, which ultimately resulted in the destruction of Fort Davidson by the Union forces that held the Fort. Thomas Lang transported some of the soldiers killed in what is often called the Battle of Pilot Knob, to Farmington for funeral services and proper burial.
The Lang family continued their founder's commitment to excellence in funeral service for another four years. Selling the firm to Henry Rinke, a pioneer embalmer who operated Rinke Undertaking Co at nearby Flat River. Rinke was highly respected in the community, where he was elected the city's first mayor the first time Flat River was incorporated. His daughter and son-in-law, Elva and Rolla Cozean in 1916, the new owners brought renewed energy and vitality to the business. This fact was demonstrated by the new name given to the firm, the Cozean Funeral Home. The ties to the past were not completely severed however, as the corporate name; the Farmington Undertaking Company has been retained to this day.
More significant changes came in 1930, when the firm expanded its operation by moving to a large, graceful dwelling on North Washington Street. During the next two decades, a mainstay of the firm was Elva Cozean, who often coordinated the many aspects of the firm's operations.
Continued excellence in service meant more growth, and the need for additional space prompted the business to move in 1940 to its present location on West Columbia Street.
In 1943 ownership of the firm passed to the Cozean's son, Charles Hugo, who continued to expand the business and its facility over the next 40 years. During his years with the firm Hugo also served as president of the Southeast Missouri Funeral Directors Association and later as chairman of the State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.
Following his death in 1982, the business has been operated by his son, Jon, who represents the fourth generation of the family's commitment to Farmington Undertaking Company. During 1993, and stretching into 1994, the firm's building was remodeled and enlarged, making it the largest funeral facility in this part of the state. More change came in 2000, when their main visitation room was enlarged and remodeled. More recently, a new parking lot is being built adjacent to the funeral home. Jon Cozean is very proud to be the fourth generation of funeral directors to operate the Cozean Memorial Chapel in Farmington.
Cozean Chapel also introduced video tributes to the area and is currently on the cutting edge of development of this service which now includes the use of animation. It introduced the area's first motor-driven hearse and later the first Cadillac hearse. It was the first area funeral home to use air conditioning, electronic organs and computers. For more than 40 years beginning in 1925, the firm employed Nellie Harter, the first lady embalmer in southeast Missouri, and one of the first to be licensed in the state.
All these modernizations did not change the fundamental aspect of doing business for the members of the Cozean Funeral Home family and staff. The core values of excellent professional service and compassionate care for the bereaved are still in evidence as strongly as they were for the founder, Thomas Lang.
These values have been recognized by the International Order of the Golden Rule, whose board elected the Cozean Funeral Home for membership in 1992. An organization of leading independent funeral homes in the United States and abroad, the IOGR clearly defines members' commitment to quality, service and high standards, and limits membership to only one outstanding firm per community. Members adhere to a basic set of principles that guide their practices and conduct with “service measured not by gold … but by the Golden Rule.”
In the spring of 2001, Cozean Funeral Chapel was again distinguished by their acceptance for membership in Selected Independent Funeral Homes, the nation's oldest association of independently-owned funeral homes. They feel extremely honored to be associated with this prestigious professional organization, whose membership in Missouri is limited to a small number of the state's finest funeral homes. Membership is by invitation only, and carries with it the responsibility to maintain the highest levels of professional conduct and service.
Closer to home, the Cozean Funeral Home has been recognized for its long tradition of service in the area with a number of awards, by the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, the Farmington Business and Professional Women's organization, and the Farmington Press. Much to his delight, in 2001, Jon Cozean was named as "Parade Marshall" of the city's "Country Days" celebration. He was chosen for this honor by the selection committee because of his long involvement in community service.
Proving their commitment to Farmington history and community education, every three years the firm participates in the Civil War re-enactment at Pilot Knob; where its unique 1844 horse-drawn hearse is displayed. Staff members dressed in authentic period clothes share some of the many fascinating facts regarding funeral practices of the mid-1800s, and detail the firm's involvement in the aftermath of the Battle of Pilot Knob.
It's easy to see that the roots of his commitment to professional conduct, personalized care, and community service lie deep in Farmington history. There is no doubt that your family will receive the careful attention of professionals, who keenly feel their ties to the past. Truly, stepping into the past leads directly to the present, and leads on into the future.