Obituaries

History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, 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 integrity.

Our History

"Bright Spot in Morgantown Street" 
(A confectionery store in the Herod Building circa 1920's) 

"Herod Funeral Home History" 
In the late 1800’s, John N. Herod was an old-fashioned country undertaker in Dunkard Township, Greene County. Located in the village of Taylortown, John, a carpenter by trade, had a small farm, and in the loft of his barn he built and stored the coffins needed for his funeral business. At the time of a death in the area, neighbors would call on John to “undertake” all the details necessary to arrange for a funeral and burial. Duties such as delivering the coffin, embalming, if done, and dressing the body, digging the grave, building the rough box which was placed in the grave, and conducting the funeral service were all handled or arranged by him. All funeral services at that time were held at the family home or local church. By the early 1900’s, John moved to Point Marion, and with his daughter, Audrey Herod Fowler, conducted a small funeral business, until health problems forced him to retire. John Herod was noted for his compassion and dependability, and was respected throughout the area. 

One of John’s sons, Omar, also followed in his father’s footsteps. Omar L. Herod went to mortuary school and became a licensed undertaker in 1921. Taking over where his father left off, Omar, in 1922, built his own building in Point Marion, and opened the Herod Funeral Home on Morgantown Street. He purchased the corner lot from the Ira Brewer, Sr. family, and used the entire lot for his building. Though the building he built was large, only a small portion of it was used for a funeral home. A major part of the three story building was commercial rental property and apartments. All that was needed in 1922 for a funeral home was an embalming room, an office, and a storage room where funeral equipment and a few caskets were kept. Usually, when a death occurred, Omar would be called to come quickly to the family home. At that time he would show the family what caskets were available from a catalog. Upon his return to the funeral home with the deceased, he would order the casket from Pittsburgh which would be delivered by train to the freight office in Point Marion later that day. The casket, shipped in the rough box, was picked up at the train station. Once the body was placed in the casket, it was taken to the family home for the wake period, usually three days, before the funeral service was held. 

Omar’s untimely and sudden death in 1942 caused his son, Richard, to enter the family business earlier than planned. Audrey Herod Fowler, one of the first women licensed in the state of Pennsylvania as an undertaker, helped to keep the business operating until Richard finished his education and was licensed. It was during Richard’s ownership that the most dramatic changes occurred to the funeral home on Morgantown Street. 

After World War II, families began to use the funeral home for the visitation period, and occasionally for funeral services. Storage rooms were remodeled, offices moved, apartments eliminated, funeral chapels constructed, and the entire first and second floors of the building were now used completely for funeral purposes. Delivery of caskets also changed, with display rooms being needed to show the available caskets and funeral merchandise that was offered. By this time, embalming had been perfected to quite an art and skill, and the professional services of funeral conduction and arrangement had become the standard which families began to expect from the Herod Funeral Home. 

In 1970, the first parking lot to serve the funeral home was constructed. Located on the corner of Union and Stewartstown Road, the vacant lot was purchased from the Albert Gallatin School District, excavated and paved. In addition, added responsibilities of the undertaker, or funeral director, as had now become the modern terminology, included providing a wide variety of funeral and cremation merchandise and equipment, and handling vital statistic information and state registration in the form of death certificates and burial permits. The notification of social security, veterans affairs, UMWA, Black Lung, and insurance companies for survivors benefits were also handled by the director. 

As in the time of his father and grandfather, families continued to call upon Richard, and his wife, Ruth, to help them in their time of need, entrusting in them the care of their loved one. Just as Omar saw the dramatic transition from a horse drawn hearse to motorized vehicles, Richard saw the transition from funerals being a home-based event, to one that took place primarily at the funeral home. The basic obligation, however, has remained the same which was to “undertake” all the necessary items needed to be done at the time of a death in order to alleviate as much of the burden from the family in grief. 

In 1978, Philip Rishel came to the Herod Funeral Home to serve as a resident intern under the tutelage of Richard. Philip remained employed there until Richard’s retirement in 1986, at which time he became the sole owner of the Herod Funeral Home. 

Realizing the rich heritage of funeral service of which he was now a part, Philip continued to expand and improve the services and facilities which were offered by the Herod Funeral Home, including the opening of an additional parking lot on the west side of Morgantown Street. He has dedicated the facility to providing the very best in funeral services for the friends and families they serve, doing all that can be done to help with the details and transitions that need attention at the time of a death. 

The Herod Funeral Home, now in its third century of operation, continues to build on the traditions of service and compassion started by John N. Herod in the 19th century, improved upon by Omar and Richard in the 20th century, while meeting the needs of a modern generation in the 21st century. 


Our Staff

Philip S. Rishel

Philip S. Rishel, Owner & Funeral Director

A native of Wharton Township and a life-long resident of Fayette County, PA, Philip is a 1975 graduate of Uniontown Area Senior High School. He is also a 1978 Honors Graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where he received the “Mu Sigma Alpha” award for outstanding academic proficiency.

Following a year of internship under Richard R. Herod, he became licensed by the state of Pennsylvania in 1979. Philip remained employed there until Richard’s retirement in 1986, at which time he became the sole owner of the Herod Funeral Home.

Philip married the former Karen Mankins in 1992, and they made their home in the former Brewer, and later Springer house, located next door to the funeral home. They enjoyed living in their remodeled home, participating in many community activities, and working together at the funeral home, until her early passing in December of 2001.

A member of the National Funeral Directors Association and Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, Philip is also a member of the Southwestern Funeral Directors Association (Fayette, Washington and Greene Counties) and is currently serving their local association as Secretary-Treasurer, an office which he has held for over twenty-five years.

He is active in various local organizations of the Point Marion area, including the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, the former Albert Gallatin Regatta, and Friendship Hill Association, as well as continuing the tradition of supporting area churches and their outreach ministries. He also has been appointed as a Fayette County Deputy Coroner, serving Point Marion and Springhill Township for nearly thirty years.


Karen M. Rishel - In Memory

Karen M. Rishel - In Memory

Karen Rishel worked along side her husband Philip at the funeral home, until her early passing in December of 2001.