The Airsman-Hires Story
The Airsman-Hires Story begins in the 1970s in Greene County, Illinois. Terry and Mary Beth Airsman (left) are the owners and operators of Wolfe-Airsman Funeral Home in Roodhouse, and Dawdy-Wolf-Airsman Funeral Home in White Hall. They had recently purchased the funeral parlors from Bill Wolfe, a longtime funeral director in Greene County, and the gentleman responsible for giving Terry his first opportunity to work in funeral service, as a "lawn boy" in 1955. In addition to funeral services, the Airsmans also provide a 24-hour ambulance service to Greene County residents.
Meanwhile, Jess and Niela Hires (right) own and operate Hires Funeral Home in Carrollton. Both families provide excellent service to the communities they serve. In an effort to provide improved service to Greene County, and improve their efficiency while keeping costs down, Jess and Terry form Airsman-Hires Funeral Homes, effective March 1, 1979. At that time, they also purchase the former Mehl Funeral Home of Carrollton. They are joined in the business by Rick Hires, son of Jess and Niela, and Joe Coultas, an apprentice funeral director and embalmer from Pleasant Hill.
Soon after the formation of Airsman-Hires, Bill Neece, owner of Neece Funeral Homes in Franklin and Waverly, and Stults-Neece Funeral Home in Palmyra, offers to sell his business to Terry and Jess. These locations are added in July of 1980.
In 1981, Harlan Williamson, third-generation funeral director and owner of Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville, sells his funeral home to Airsman-Hires. The Airsman family moves to Jacksonville to run that business. Subsequent offers result in the addition of Skinner Funeral Home in Griggsville (1986), the former Lummis Funeral Home of Pittsfield (1993), and Coonrod Funeral Home of Winchester (1994). In January of 2007, Sager Funeral Home of Beardstown is added to the Airsman-Hires family of funeral homes. Jess Hires retired in 1992. Denton Coonrod and Wyatt and Trish Sager are still involved in providing funeral service in their communities.
Today, the business remains family-owned and operated under the guidance of Terry and Mary Beth and their daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Greg May.