Janesville60.2°

Downtown funeral home to relocate to west side

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JAMES P. LEUTE
January 17, 2011
— The brick funeral home on Jackson Street may have been state of the art when it was built in 1929, but it has far surpassed its life expectancy.

More than 80 years later, the current owners of the business are preparing to open their own state-of-the-art facility.


The new Whitcomb-Lynch-Albrecht Funeral Home is expected to open near the end of February on a five-acre parcel on Janesville's far west side.


Construction on the 10,300-square-foot facility started in June.


From the outset, the new building will solve two of the most pressing problems posed at the Jackson Street location: accessibility to a two-story building and limited parking.


Inside, the new funeral home will feature the latest in audio-visual equipment to meet a growing demand for multimedia presentations and web casting. TVs will be spaced throughout the facility, including a 60-inch model at one end of the chapel.


Whitcomb-Lynch-Albrecht will be just the third facility in the state to have an advanced loop system that helps people with hearing aids hear a service regardless of where they are sitting in the 2,500-square-foot dividable chapel.


A wide entranceway—punctuated by a waterfall—gives way to a wide hallway that connects offices, sitting area, a casket room, lunchroom and spacious bathrooms.


"We're very excited," said Gerry Lynch, who owns the funeral home and two others in Milton and Edgerton with Jim Whitcomb and Bob Albrecht. "This is a facility that we can't wait to open up."


The Janesville funeral home traces its roots to 1929, when Ted Overton opened the Overton Funeral Home at 15 N. Jackson. In the 1980s and 1990s, ownership changed between different national chains.


Lynch bought it in July 2000 and maintained the Overton name. One year later, Whitcomb merged his Whitcomb-Henning Funeral Home with Lynch, and the business became known as the Whitcomb-Lynch-Overton Funeral Home.


In 2005, Whitcomb and Lynch joined forces with the Albrecht Funeral Homes of Milton and Edgerton.


Together, the three men have 75 years of experience in the business.


"For us, this facility is all about versatility and flexibility," Albrecht said. "The location is absolutely perfect."


Whitcomb said he and Lynch have talked for years about a facility on the west side.


It's easily accessible from Interstate 90/39 via Highway 11 and positions the business for customers in western Rock County.


He said the new funeral home will also help the Westgate Corridor by bringing people to the west side.


The five-acre parcel will be attractively landscaped, including prairie grasses that neighbor a quick-draining storm water drainage system, Lynch said.


The parcel also is large enough for another building, which the owners said could be used for memorial luncheons.


Lynch said the 6,500-square-foot building on Jackson Street is for sale.



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