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Ertel Funeral home invites public to 100-year anniversary

Ertel Funeral Home's fleet, including an airplane, served as part of the area ambulance service in the 1950s. (Courtesy Ertel Funeral Home)
Nov. 6 celebration includes fireworks show

Ertel Funeral Home in Cortez will celebrate 100 years of service Nov. 6 from 1-7 p.m. at its building at 42 N. Market St.

The centennial celebration will feature historical pieces from the funeral home’s history, including pictures, blueprints, clippings and other memorabilia.

Refreshments and cake will be served, and the day’s celebration will be capped by a fireworks display at 7 p.m.

“The whole community is invited to celebrate with us,” said owner and funeral director Kinsey Ertel, in a press release. “From early on, the Ertel family believed in the future and growth of this area, and we are proud to be serving here still.”

Kinsey Ertel has led the business since 2016, taking over operations from her father, Keenan Ertel, who ran the business after his father, Walter Ertel, retired in 1993.

Ertel Funeral home will celebrate 100 years in business on Nov. 6 from 1-7 p.m. The public is invited to view historical displays, eat cake and enjoy a fireworks display at 7 p.m. (Courtesy Ertel Funeral Home)

The business was founded by Kinsey’s great-grandfather, J.W. Ertel, in 1921, who ran it until 1956.

“My family and our community have a shared history, and we are excited to note and celebrate that relationship,” Kinsey Ertel said.

J.W. Ertel homesteaded land in the Ackmen in the Pleasant View area in 1916 and bought the mortuary in Cortez in 1921, according to the news release. The building at 42 N. Market St. was finished and dedicated in 1936.

For several decades, the funeral home also has hosted weddings, anniversary parties and community meetings.

It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The stucco facade remains unchanged, and only minor renovations have occurred through the years.

“The building is still basically as functional today as it was when it was built,” said Keenan Ertel. “The architect really knew what he was doing back then in the ’30s.”

Ertel’s provides funeral and crematory services for Montezuma and Dolores counties, and the Ute Mountain Ute and Navajo tribes.