Hohlt & File Funeral Home, located on the corner of 4th
street and Madison street in Vandalia, IL
Tom File, Owner, Funeral Director/ Embalmer
Sue Holliday, Funeral Director/
and his wife Sidney
pictured with her husband Jake Holliday
On July 16, 1936 the Barkley Funeral
Home, located at 204 N. 4th Street, Vandalia, IL
officially opened to the public. Both the Vandalia Union and the
Vandalia Leader newspapers published this announcement: "Catering
to the people of this vicinity who appreciate intimate service,
conducted with efficiency and dignity, we offer real home-like
surroundings, so conducive to the unruffled calm that is
appreciated at time of bereavement. Ours is not a funeral
chapel, but a funeral home, and with it goes all the fine things
implied by the word "home". Our service will exceed your
strictest expectations. Unbiased observers have informed us
that our new Funeral Home is the finest and most up-to-date to be
found in South Central Illinois. They also tell us that no
other city in Illinois, under 5000 population has a home to rival
"Much study, time, and money have gone into the planning and
erection of our Home, but we do feel that we have a funeral home
that is a credit to Vandalia - one that every person in Vandalia
and Fayette County can join us in being proud of."
**Mr. Orville Barkley was born November 27, 1877 near Hagarstown,
IL, son of Davis and Julia Freeland Barkley. Mr. Barkley purchased
a combination establishment, undertaking and furniture, from John
Schenker in 1903. It was located on Gallatin Street in
Vandalia. He later moved his business two more times on
Gallatin Street and closed the furniture portion. In 1936, he
moved to the present funeral home site of 204 North 4th
When Mr. Barkley opened the business at the N. 4th
Street location he had two assistants. Mr. Paul Isbell, a
1933 Vandalia High School and 1936 Worsham Mortuary College alumni,
and Mr. Rollin Oliver, a licensed funeral director who worked for
him for 21 years. Mr. Barkley died on Sunday, March 24, 1946
in the apartment of the funeral home. He is interred at
Fairlawn Cemetery, Vandalia. Mrs. Barkley because of heirship
continued to operate the business with assistance of Mr. Oliver and
Mr. Isbell; she died October 28, 1950.
**In the 1947 Vandalia phone book advertises Barkley Funeral Home
with Harold Blue as the director and in 1949 it reads Blue Funeral
Home, formerly Barkley. In 1951 and 1952 Vandalia phone book
advertises Hunter Funeral Home at 204 N. 4th Street.
**Mr. James Henry Hunter was born June 13, 1892 in Herrick, IL, son
of J.T. and Julia Dobbs Hunter. Mr. Hunter owned funeral
establishments on Gallatin Street and at 231 S. 4th
Street in Vandalia. In 1951 he moved his business to the
present location on N. 4th Street. He was assisted
by Mr. Jesse Clayton Beery and Mr. Fred Hohlt at the S.
4th St. location and the N. 4th St. Location.
Mr. Hunter died July 31, 1972 and Mrs. Hunter died April 25, 1973
and are interred at South Hill Cemetery, Vandalia.
**Jesse Clayton Beery was born in Cerro Gordo, IL July 13, 1904,
the son of Hiram and Agnes Kinsey Beery. Mr. Beery owned and
operated a funeral home in Patoka, IL before he began working in
Vandalia in 1941 for Mr. Hunter. Mr. Beery died August 15,
1961 while mowing the funeral home lawn; Mrs. Beery died April 4,
1997 they are interred in Fairlawn Cemetery, Vandalia.
In 1952 Clayton Beery and Fred Hohlt purchased the funeral home
from Mr. Hunter and it became Beery & Hohlt Funeral Home.
After Mr. Beery's death in 1961 Mr. Hohlt and his wife purchased
the business. In 1980 the business name was changed to Hohlt
Funeral Home LTD.
**Fred M. Hohlt was born November 26, 1927 in Farina, the son of
William and Florence Bousman Hohlt. Mr. Hohlt died December
18, 1980 in the funeral home apartment and is interred at Fairlawn
Cemetery, Vandalia. Mrs. Jeanne Hohlt survives in Vandalia.
Mr. Hohlt was assisted by Mr. Tom File, a 1964 Vandalia High School
and 1972 Worsham Mortuary College Alumni, for ten years prior to
Mr. Hohlt's death.
**Mr. Tom File was born November 13, 1946 in Vandalia, the son of
Lester and Jarraline Baldwin File. He married Sidney Burgess
on November 20, 1970. Since purchasing the business in 1981,
together he and his wife purchased two empty lots north of the
funeral home which has been made into parking area and a
lawn/garden area. Since 2009 Mr. File has been assisted by
Mrs. Sue Kistler Holliday, a 2004 Brownstown High School and 2009
SIUC School of Mortuary Science Alumni.