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History

Our Story

From our humble beginnings over 180 years ago, the Sharer Funeral Home has been a family owned & locally operated firm, guiding families in creating a meaningful ceremony to honor the life and memory of a loved one.  From all walks of life, each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest levels of integrity.

 
 
183
years in business
 
 

Why Us?

In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.

Why Us?

We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.

1830's

Philip Sharer

Philip Sharer

The furniture and undertaking business of Philip Sharer, was the oldest establishment of its kind in Ohio.  Mr. Sharer, our founder, was a native of Germany, near Manheim.  

He landed in New York, August 1, 1837, after a perilous voyage of sixty-eight days.  The panic of that year had so depressed business, that it was impossible to procure a day’s work.  After four weeks of persistent effort, his limited means became exhausted.  He left his trunk and its contents as security for a board bill, and started out on foot for Pittsburg, PA.

For six weeks he tramped, begging his way through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, until reaching Adamsburg, Westmoreland County, PA., where he got work at a carpenter's trade, at thirty-seven and a half cents a day of fourteen or sixteen hours.  He remained there for four years, where he was married and started west again on foot, accompanied by his young wife, his tools and their few household necessities being all carried on a small one-horse wagon.

Reaching Freedom in 1841, (now a part of Alliance, Ohio), he began to practice his trade.

He then started a cabinet shop and undertaking business on October 1, 1841. 

The Firm has been in continuous operation since. 

The line of succession follows:

1841 to 1868. - The business was conducted in the name of Philip Sharer. 

1868 to 1882 - Philip’s eldest son, John, joined the firm and it was known as Philip Sharer & Son.

1882 to 1898. - John Sharer was the sole owner.

1898 to 1910. - John's son, Roscoe, joined the firm and it was known as J.H. Sharer & Son. 

1910 to 1939 - Roscoe was the sole owner.

1939 to 1968 - Roscoe's wife was the sole owner.

1968 to 1986 - John W. "Bill" Stirling was the sole owner.

1986 to present - Daniel T. Skivolocke became the sole owner.

1840's

On October 1, 1841, Philip Sharer opened the Sharer Cabinet and Undertaking Co. buildings, which he had built himself while he was operating the business without a store.  It was located at the northwest corner of East Main Street and North Seneca Avenue in the village of Freedom.  He served the community by building hand-made, quality furnishings and caskets to the pioneers that made Alliance their home.

The Sharer Funeral Home has been a local landmark of the Alliance community ever since.

1850's - 1860's

J. H. Sharer

J. H. Sharer

In 1859, Philip’s first son, John “J.H.” Sharer, joined the family business as an apprentice.

J.H. Sharer became partners with his father in 1868. With the new partnership, the company’s name changed to Philip Sharer & Son.It was in this little hamlet of Freedom, known only for its isolation and its poverty, that J. H. Sharer, the second-generation funeral director, became a senior member of the firm.

He was born July 1, 1842, the first born to Philip Sharer. Being the oldest of a large family, he was compelled at twelve years of age to earn his own living by working on the farm, in the brick yard and driving teams. The only time allotted for school was three months during the winter. In the fall of 1859, he became an apprentice of the cabinetmaking trade with his father.

The Civil War coming on before concluding his apprenticeship, he enlisted in the army, August 8, 1862, intending to join the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  But, his captain was made colonel of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment and he was therefore mustered in as a private in Company F of that regiment September 18, 1862. By January 1, 1863, he was detailed as Ordnance Sergeant at Camp Dennison, Ohio, and on March 1, 1863, he was assigned to Post B at the same place.  On October 1, 1863, Mr. Sharer rejoined the regiment and went to Tennessee, but on May 1, 1864, he was detached from the company and was made principal musician of the regiment and leader of its band, which position he retained until the close of the war. He returned home on July 5, 1865, and resumed his place at the work bench vacated three years before.  He continued the furniture and undertaking business in the same building as his father.

GENERAL SHARER, Grand Army of the Republic

After returning home from the Civil War, John H. Sharer became a charter member of the first Grand Army of the Republic Post in Alliance in 1866, serving as aid on the staff of several department and national commanders. 

He was elected to Ohio State Commander of the GAR, as General. 

 He was appointed to the Stark County Soldiers' Relief Commission on the passage of the law, and had been appointed for sixteen consecutive years. He served as master of Alliance Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons for eight years, and also as high priest of the chapter.

Formed The Ohio Funeral Directors Association (OFDA)

When enrolled in the army, Mr. Sharer's occupation was given as undertaker and having gained much practical knowledge in this line during the war he had an abiding faith in the benefits that would come to the general public.

He joined in a call for a convention of undertakers at Columbus, Ohio, in June, 1881. There he formed a state association of which he was elected secretary for eight years, and two as president.

Formed The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA)

John H. Sharer was also a delegate to the first national convention, and formed a national association. He was chairman of the national executive committee until 1886, when elected secretary and unanimously chosen for twelve years; ten years as secretary and two years as president.

Formed The Ohio State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors

In 1901 he was appointed chairman of a committee to draft and secure the passage of a law to regulate the practice of embalming in Ohio, so as to prevent the spread of contagious and infectious disease, and provide for the better protection of life and health. The matter was taken up and prosecuted with vigor until April 30, 1902, when the act was passed and an embalmer's law placed on the State of Ohio statute books. The law provides for an examining board, consisting of three practical practicing embalmers appointed by the governor, the president and secretary of the state board of health to be ex-officio members. When the board was named, Mr. Sharer received the three-year appointment without solicitation and when it organized for work he was unanimously chosen secretary and treasurer.

There were fifteen hundred embalmers in the state to be licensed and it became his duty to systemize the work, arrange for all examinations, prepare the questions and issue the licenses.

1870's

Philip Sharer’s third and fourth sons, George Sharer and Frank Sharer, go on to open other undertaking and furniture establishments in the area.

George and Frank, opened a second furniture and undertaking business in Alliance, known as the Sharer Brothers Furniture and Undertaking, a highly respected business. George later sold it in 1881 to Joshua and William Cassaday. Today, the undertaking business is still in operation, known as Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral and Cremation Service.

George and Frank then opened another furniture and undertaking business, this time in Canton, Ohio. The Sharer Brothers operated this for several years and sold this business in 1889 to J.L. Arnold. Today, that undertaking business is still in operation, known as Arnold Funeral Home.

After the Sharer Brothers sold their Canton business, Frank remained in Canton for the remainder of his life and George went to Cleveland where he opened yet another Sharer Funeral Home, located in Shaker Heights. That funeral home later became Bennett-Sharer Funeral Home and was subsequently purchased by the Brown-Forward Funeral Home, which is also still in operation.

1880's

John “J.H.” Sharer formed the Ohio Funeral Director’s Association, the National Funeral Director’s Association and the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.

Philip Sharer retired in 1882 and died in 1889 at the age of seventy-nine.

1890's - 1900's

Roscoe Sharer

Roscoe Sharer

By 1898, J.H.’s son, Roscoe T. Sharer, joined the family business. The principle changes within the company led to another name change, J.H. Sharer & Son.

Roscoe T. Sharer was the third generation of Alliance’s pioneer family to carry on the business of the Sharer Funeral Home and Furniture Store. Funerals and the science of embalming had been held at the family home, a common practice of funeral services in America at that time. With the downsizing of American homes and with the increase of embalming practices, morticians all across the nation were seeking large old homes to better accommodate funerals and embalming. Roscoe was one of the first morticians to purchase a stately home to accommodate funeral services and embalming. 

Held Several State Offices

Roscoe was known throughout the nation in fraternal circles. He served as President of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association in 1924, the state organization which his father John H. Sharer had formed. Roscoe also served as State President of the Ohio Elks Association in 1900. In 1907-08, he was installed as Exalted Ruler of the Alliance local lodge, # 467.

Former City Safety Director

Roscoe had always been civic minded and was a former Safety Director for the City of Alliance. In his younger days, he attended Mt. Union College and played the slide trombone in the Alliance City Band. He toured the country with the Canton Grand Army Band when it campaigned for McKinley. He was also known around the country for his roles in Shakespearean plays.

A Famous Orator

Mr. Roscoe Sharer was an orator of old school, perhaps the last of his eloquent appeal in this section of the country. His impelling voice and commanding manner embellished many ritualistic services and he was in wide demand as a speaker on every type of public gathering. He was often asked to officiate many funeral services, which were under his direction at his funeral home.

Upon his death, Roscoe’s widow, Hazel Sharer, continued the business until the mid 1960’s.

1910's

Motorized Hearse & Ambulance

Motorized Hearse & Ambulance 

During this time, Sharer Funeral Home purchased the first motorized ambulance for the city of Alliance, as well as obtained the first motorized hearse for funerals.

1920's

Very typical of the era, all funerals took place at the family residence.  The undertaker would transport all of his equipment into the family home and set-up all things necessary.   

Very typical of the era, after taking the casket out of the family residence, it was the custom to prop up the casket and take a family photograph, before proceeding to the cemetery.  

As bizarre as this practice sounds, this photo was used to send back to their home country to provide a visualization that a family member had died and thus enabling those family members in the old country some sense of closure.  

1930's

Sharer Funeral Home in the 1930's

Sharer Funeral Home in the 1930's

Roscoe separated the company into two different entities: Sharer Funeral Home, which was moved to its present location at South Union Avenue, and Sharer Furniture Company, which remained at East Main Street. He operated both businesses, along with his wife Hazel, until his death in 1939.

Roscoe Sharer purchased this stately home on South Union Avenue in the 1920's and moved the operations of holding funeral services to this new location. Prior to this timeline, all funerals were held in the homes of the decedent.

Sharer Furniture Store in the 1930's

Sharer Furniture Store in the 1930's

Roscoe Sharer demolished the old Furniture Store on Main Street at Seneca Ave. and built this new Furniture Store.

1940's - 1950's

Hazel Sharer

Hazel Sharer

Following the death of Roscoe Sharer in 1939, Hazel Sharer, Roscoe's widow, continues to run both the funeral home and the furniture store. 

1960's

By the mid 1960’s, Hazel Sharer makes the decision to close the furniture store and sell the funeral home. 

John W. "Bill" Stirling

John W. "Bill" Stirling

John W. “Bill” Stirling assumes ownership, thus another name change: Sharer-Stirling Funeral Home.

When Bill Stirling died in December of 2007, the city of Alliance lost one of the area’s finest funeral directors and a long-time community icon.

Bill was born and raised in Washingtonville, Ohio. He served in the US Navy in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. After graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Bill received his license in 1949 and joined Sharer Funeral Home. Bill was the immediate former owner of the funeral home and retired in 1986. After retirement, he remained active in the funeral home.

Dedicated to community service, he was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Past President of Alliance Lion's Club, a Century Member of the Alliance Y.M.C.A. and the Knights of Columbus Bowling League. Bill was well known in the Alliance area as a tenor singer. He has been a soloist in many weddings and performed during many community shows, especially at St. Patrick’s Day activities.

Over the years, he was involved with helping the youth of our community in many ways. He was a former diving instructor at Alliance High School in the 1960’s and also at the YMCA for many years. He was very involved with the Alliance Hot Stove League and was a member of their Board of Directors. In 1941, Bill put a new team in place, calling it the “Stirling Celtics,” and had been sponsoring that team every year to date. He was also a recipient of the “Cy Butler Award”. He was also active with the ULSTER PROJECT, helping Irish Exchange Students become familiar with life in America.

1970's

In 1971, Daniel T. Skivolocke joined the firm and assisted Bill Stirling in operating the funeral home.

1980's

Daniel T. Skivolocke

Daniel T. Skivolocke 

 In 1986, Bill Stirling makes the decision to retire and Dan Skivolocke becomes the new owner, thus another name change to the funeral home: Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home.

1990's

The Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home in the 1990's.

2000 and Beyond

Today, the funeral home is still operated by Daniel Skivolocke, continuing the funeral home's tradition of family ownership. He has been employed by the Sharer Funeral Home for 50 years and has been the owner for the past 35 years.

Throughout Dan's career as the owner of the funeral home, his vision to offer the finest in service and in facilities, has driven him to continually educate his staff and make renovations to the funeral home and property surrounding the facility. The most recent project was his planning and construction of the largest expansion in the funeral home's history, with the new "Planning Center ".

These improvements to the facility and a well experienced staff are here to serve the community with the same high standards that were set by Philip Sharer so many years ago. 

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