I t all began in 1852 when Peter Burkey started a cabinet making business in Hamburg, PA. Eventually he was called upon to make wooden caskets. The pairing may seem odd at first, but the very roots of the founding makes very good sense. Down through the generations, the Burkey Family served the needs of the greater Hamburg Area in both the funeral business and as cabinet makers.
As time passed, manufactured furniture replaced the cabinet makers of yesteryear. The Burkey Family moved forward with the times and became furniture retailers in addition to continuing to operate the funeral home.
In the 1940's Charles Burkey joined the family business founded by his great grandfather. Joining Mr. Burkey at this time was Carl Spacht, formerly of Lititz, PA. They worked as partners in both businesses for many years. In 1967, Steven Burkey, the son of Charles, joined the family business. In 1979, Steven became a partner in the funeral home and furniture store taking over for his father. In 1980 Mr. Spacht retired and John Driscoll, formerly of Athens, PA joined Steven in both operations.
Many improvements took place during the next 26 years. The funeral home was expanded, the former Miller's 5 & 10 parking lot was purchased for off street parking and the furniture store was carpeted and air conditioned, along with many other upgrades.
In January of 2006, John Driscoll became the sole owner of both the funeral home and furniture store. Steven Burkey continued to serve the greater Hamburg area and assist John in both businesses.
March 5th, 2007 was a day that changed the course of history for the funeral home and furniture store forever. The biggest fire in the history of the borough destroyed or damaged five 19th century buildings including the furniture store and funeral home. The four alarm fire brought over 200 firefighters who battled the blaze from 3:00 PM until the wee hours of the following morning. The firefighters bravely fought 40 mile per hour winds and sub freezing temperatures to finally bring the blaze under control. With three bodies in the funeral home awaiting burial the first thing Driscoll did was to reassure the families that their loved ones were safe. Immediately, the funerals were rescheduled to nearby churches. John was quoted in the Reading Eagle Newspaper as saying "we are open" to serve our families of the area. "We won't miss a beat here." True to his word, in late July the funeral home reopened after conducting almost 40 funerals off premises in area churches.
In March of 2008, the sad decision was made not to reopen the furniture store. After serving the needs of furniture customers for 155 years, an era had come to an end. However, the funeral business continues to move forward. After the fire, the former Moyer Hardware Store Building was razed due the devastation from the fire. Burkey & Driscoll Funeral Home acquired the vacant lot and turned it into additional off street parking.
We have completed our expansion of the funeral home by 1,000 sq ft. and relocated the Batesville Meaningful Memories Selection Room to the first floor to be handicapped accessible.
As we enter the new decade we look forward to serving all the families of the greater Hamburg Area with honor and dignity. We will continue our commitment to the community for years to come.