Our History Ownership, staff, and facilities have changed, but the funeral service started by Mr. George Murison has been in continuous service to Portage and the surrounding area for over 150 years. Founded as Murison Furniture & Undertaking in 1853, its successor, Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home, is one of the oldest businesses in the State of Wisconsin.
George Murison was a Scottish immigrant who settled at Portage, Wisconsin, in 1853 as a furniture and “coffin maker". At that time, families cared for their deceased loved ones alone, and sometimes purchased a coffin from Mr. Murison. As time passed, not only would Mr. Murison be requested to deliver the coffin, but also “undertake” many of the tasks associated with the final care, preparation, and funeral arrangements for the deceased loved one. Thus, the former title of “Undertaker” was born.
George Murison had two sons, Wallace and George A. Both joined their father in providing professional quality funeral service to Portage and the surrounding areas. In the early 1900’s, both Wallace and George completed formalized training in Mortuary Science. At this time, most “wakes” were held in the family home of the deceased. However, many families were requesting a place other than the family home for friends and relatives to gather, and the concept of the “Funeral Parlor” was born. The Murison family prepared an area of their Furniture Store at 310 Dewitt Street in Portage, (formerly Black’s Furniture Store) for this purpose.
In 1942, Wallace Murison was in his 70’s, and looking for someone to join him in the family profession. Neither he nor George A. had any children interested in a Funeral Service career. As is true today, Mr. Murison had seen many “come and go” in his profession. None seemed to have the dedication and caring required for providing funeral service in the Murison Family tradition.
In 1942, Mr. Otto E. Pflanz, Jr., then of Black River Falls, Wisconsin entered the employ of the Murison family. Otto was a graduate of the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in Milwaukee, and had also completed two years of apprenticeship with the William F. Plummer Funeral Home at Sparta, Wisconsin. Otto was at the threshold of his career with one of the oldest funeral services in the State of Wisconsin.
Within the year, Otto was taken in as one-third owner. In January of 1946, he became the sole owner of Murison-Pflanz Funeral Service. Wallace Murison died in 1947, which ended the Mursion Family era. Otto Pflanz continued at the 310 Dewitt Street address in Portage until purchasing the Wells home at 430 W. Wisconsin Street in Portage in 1951. When remodeled and adapted, this location, then known as Pflanz Funeral Home, provided a home-like atmosphere for visitations and funeral service. The concept of Funeral Home became quite popular, and by the late 1950s very few “wakes” were held in the family home.
Succeeding both the Stocker and Hadden Funeral Homes of Poynette, a branch location of Pflanz Funeral Home was built in 1958, and continues to serve Poynette and the surrounding areas at 426 E. Washington Street, Poynette.
In 1974, Charles Mantey, a graduate of MATC-Milwaukee began his career in Funeral Service at Pflanz Funeral Homes of Portage and Poynette, working with Otto E. Pflanz, Jr. Upon Otto’s retirement in 1978, George and Vivian Konen purchased the Funeral Homes. Their daughter, Jeanne Mundt, moved to Portage from Milwaukee at that time. Charles Mantey continued on as Funeral Director, and Jeanne Mundt became Secretary/Treasurer of the Funeral Homes. In 1978, Robert R. Mendrala, a graduate of the Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Chicago, began his career in funeral service. He joined Pflanz Funeral Homes of Portage and Poynette in 1982. Together, Charles and Robert span over 70 years of experience in funeral service. Otto E. Pflanz, Jr. died on December 7, 1989 and his wife, Celia, died on January 1, 2012. George Konen died on May 22, 1994, and his wife, Vivian, died on August 1, 2014.
In a day when many Funeral Homes are owned and operated by large, out of state corporations, the Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Homes are owned and operated by Jeanne Mundt, Charles Mantey, and Robert R. Mendrala. Jeanne continues as Secretary/Treasurer, while Charles and Robert both continue as Funeral Directors. The three have worked together for over 30 years. The Pflanz Funeral Homes were re-named Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Homes in 1995.
In addition to Jeanne, Charles, and Robert, Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Homes staff also includes, Funeral Directors, Heather Mundt Smith and Jenna Krenz. Staff members, Nancy Hibbard, Jeri Sutter and Martin Genrich assist in numerous areas. Jeri is a certified grief counselor who also serves as Aftercare Coordinator. All are Portage residents. Funeral Director Donald Zuther, who worked with Otto Pflanz, died on June 29, 2016.
The addition and remodeling of the Portage Funeral Home was completed in 2002, doubling the total area available to the public. Two identical chapels are now available. In addition, the Poynette Funeral Home has been remodeled. Both facilities are ADA compliant.
Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Homes are proud to be locally owned and operated. We consider it an honor to serve the families of the Portage and Poynette areas, providing all types of Funeral Service. We enjoy calling this area “home”.
Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Homes
Portage and PoynetteLocally owned and operated since 1853
There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.