Article Category: Passions | Pillars | SC28

Marty Mitchell | Iowa Funeral Museum

Posted Wednesday, Jul 22
Written By Alice Adams
Photography By Bill Nellans
Marty Mitchell | Iowa Funeral Museum
Southern Calls, Vol. 28, June 2020

Some people collect stamps or baseball cards – or maybe dolls or trophies. Marty Mitchell is into all things funereal.

“When we opened Mitchell Family Funeral Home in 2005, I already had a garage full of caskets and funeral memorabilia, so we took an extra room in the new building and made it a museum of sorts,” the Marshalltown native said.

In 2008, an expansion of the original property offered still more room to display the growing collection of memorabilia. By the time the new building for an adjacent crematorium was finished in 2013, there was an even larger space for Marty’s collection, which had grown exponentially.

But let’s begin at the beginning.

Some people collect stamps or baseball cards – or maybe dolls or trophies. Marty Mitchell is into all things funereal. (Marty in the Main Foyer)
Some people collect stamps or baseball cards – or maybe dolls or trophies. Marty Mitchell is into all things funereal. (Marty in the Main Foyer)

A PASSION FOR FUNERAL SERVICE

Martin Lyle Mitchell was the first of two children born to Dean and Mary Mitchell of Marshalltown, Iowa – a tightly-knit town 45 miles northeast of Des Moines, in the middle of the Hawkeye State and with a population of 27,552, according to the 2010 census. Back in 1851, when Henry Anson was looking for a place to settle, he called this high point between the Iowa River and Linn Creek, “the prettiest place in Iowa.”

Like most kids growing up in the 1970s, Marty usually could be found riding his bike around the community. A favorite route for Marty and his friends ran down the alley behind the local funeral home.

“If the door was down, we’d peek in the windows to see that big, sleek, hearse, a sight that made my heart beat a little faster,” Marty, now 50, confessed.

The remainder of this article is reserved for subscribers only

In addition to receiving all of our quarterly magazines by mail, subscribers to Southern Calls have exclusive access to additional online articles, as well as ability to read all Southern Calls magazine articles as they come available.

Get your One Year or Two Year subscription today, or login here to continue viewing the rest of the article. 

Southern Calls Issue 28

Order this issue

Southern Calls Issue 28

In stock

Articles Relating to Issue 28

A Legacy of Family and Community | Vines Funeral Home

A Legacy of Family and Community | Vines Funeral Home

On a sunny, early autumn day in LaFayette, Alabama, a sleepy little town of fewer than 3,000 people, professional vehicles were displayed on the front lawn of what was once a modest brick bungalow. There was a stage encircled with a wreath of balloons woven into an…

Following Family Footsteps | James A. Lowe II

Following Family Footsteps | James A. Lowe II

Like his grandfather and father before him, third-generation Funeral Director/Embalmer James A. “Jim” Lowe II is passionate about helping others. The owner and president of Lowe (rhymes with wow) Funeral Home in Burlington, North Carolina, has been a willing…

Issue 28 Available Now

Issue 28 Available Now

There’s definitely an eye for history in Issue 28, from the service-minded 3rd generation funeral director Jim Lowe of Burlington, NC, to the newly-recognized National Register of Historic Places Vines Funeral Home of LaFayette, Alabama, and out to Marshalltown, Iowa…

Other Recent Articles

Rewards of the Cremators

Rewards of the Cremators

Casket and Sunnyside - December, 1906 There are in Manila and vicinity some first class crematories erected on American designs and controlled by Americans. These crematories are utilized to burn the bodies of dead horses, dogs and other animals. The natives employed...

read more
Tennessee Mourning at Night

Tennessee Mourning at Night

from Southern Calls Inaugural Issue - September, 2013 It was unusual, compared to most obituaries, because it ended with the following: "The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday at Christian-Sells Funeral Home in Rogersville. Funeral...

read more
Seated Burial Casket

Seated Burial Casket

SEATED BURIAL CASKET,  Patent No. 964439Application filed December 18, 1909, Patented July 12, 1910 To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, ANGELO RAFFAELE LERRO, a subject of the King of Italy, residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have invented certain...

read more
Funeral of a Midget

Funeral of a Midget

Che Mah (1838-1926) Striving towards a normal life in spite of an abnormal body, this dwarf was twice married, amassed a small fortune, and died at 88. -- The South Bend Tribune, September 30, 1956 Southern Calls, Vol. 22, December 2018 Funeral director Thomas C....

read more
Aftermath of an Execution

Aftermath of an Execution

“. . . We are not here to judge him but to bury him. May God have mercy on his soul.” Southern Calls, Vol. 21, September 2018 . . . We left to go to the funeral and were told that a minister was going to be in the chapel, where we were going to have services. Earlier...

read more
Martha Was Right!

Martha Was Right!

Undertakings Southern Calls, Vol. 23, March 2019 Martha Elizabeth Beall Mitchell gained worldwide recognition for her outspokenness during the Watergate scandal – a scandal that forced President Richard Nixon to resign from office on August 9, 1974. She was a renowned...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine