Caring For The Special Needs Of The Stewart and Buffalo Lake Communities
Diedrich W. (Dick) (D. W.) Kloempken (1883-1950) (distant relative of the Hantge family), was born in Norwood, Minnesota, to Henry and Sophie (Proehl) Kloempken. He was raised on a farm south of Fernando, Minnesota, and was united in marriage to Rosy Klitzke. D.W. and Rosy had two sons, Dietrich of Hector and John of Stewart. In 1915, D. W. and his family moved to Stewart, Minnesota, where he worked for Hoffman Bros. Hardware Store for 1 ½ years. D.W. then took courses at the University of Minnesota for 6 months and worked for Enger Funeral Home in Minneapolis. In 1918, he bought the Bussy Furniture store and also set up his own funeral home.
On April 6, 1917, D.W. Kloempken advertised for the first time his furniture, piano, and undertaking business that was located in the Stewart Tribune building. Kloempken later moved his business across the railroad tracks to the old South Side Café building where he operated for a period of time. He then moved into the corner building that was known as Kloempken’s Furniture Store for many years. It was in this building that John Kloempken (D.W.’s son) had a pool hall that was then converted into the furniture store when John and his father went into partnership in 1937. The northeast section of this building became a funeral home in 1939. The back and east of this building were remodeled and occupied by D.W. and his wife, Rosy, and the upper floor became the living quarters for John Kloempken and his wife Olga (Gruenhagen). D.W.’s son, John (also known as Johnny), joined him in the business in 1937 and together they ran the Kloempken & Son Furniture Store and Funeral Home in Stewart, Minnesota. John Kloempken was a cousin to Selda (Kloempken) Hantge, whom Selda Hantge was the grandmother to current owners Richard and Robert Hantge. Up until the opening of the funeral home/furniture store in 1939, the families of deceased ones had the caskets with loved ones in their home where the bodies would be viewed.
The father-son partnership between D.W. and John Kloempken ended in 1952 when John bought his father’s share. John and his wife, Olga, continued to operate a well-stocked furniture store along with the funeral parlor for 18 years, until John retired in 1970.
On September 1, 1970, John and Olga Kloempken sold the furniture store and funeral parlor to Glen and Kay Johnson of Estelline, South Dakota. Glen was a licensed mortician so the Johnsons continued on in the funeral business, renaming the funeral home to Johnson Funeral Home, while adding a good selection of floor coverings to the Johnson Furniture Store. By 1976, the furniture, carpet and paint business moved to the bowling alley building while the funeral home claimed a new spot in the same building. The whole west side of Johnson’s former building was remodeled and redecorated into a beautiful funeral parlor.
In 1978, Raymond and Pearl Hughes purchased the funeral home from Glen and Kay Johnson. Donald Hughes, son of Raymond and Pearl, joined his parents in the funeral business after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1982. Donald became the owner of Hughes Funeral Home in Stewart, Minnesota, in 1995. As owner and Funeral Director, Donald continued the business in the former building until 1996 when Raymond passed away. In 1999, Donald and his mother, Pearl, designed and constructed the new Hughes Funeral Home in Stewart, Minnesota, in the current building at 805 Powers Street South. Donald and Pearl operated the funeral business together until 2002, when Pearl passed away. Donald Hughes, with assistance from his sister, Cindy Christopherson, continued operating the Hughes Funeral Home in Stewart, Minnesota, until December 2010.
In December of 2010, Don and Tammy Hughes of Hector, and Robert and Richard Hantge of Hutchinson, merged their funeral operations. The Hantges, as the new owners of the Hector and Stewart funeral homes, which also serve the surrounding areas including Buffalo Lake and Cosmos, have retained Don Hughes and Cindy Christopherson, who have remained active in the operation of the business. Together they continue to offer professional traditional and cremation funeral services in the communities of Stewart, Minnesota, and Buffalo Lake, Minnesota. In addition to providing meaningful, professional, personalized traditional and cremation services, the staff at Hughes-Hantge Funeral Chapel is available to assist with pre-planning/pre-arranging services, grief support groups, and designing a personalized monument/cemetery marker in honor of loved ones.