The Zahoran Funeral Home, Inc.
was founded by Michael A. Zahoran in 1922 in Gary, Indiana.
Mr. Zahoran moved his funeral business to South Bend, Indiana
in October of 1924, at 1830 Kemble Avenue, which was also
the family home. Mr. Zahoran was influential among the
people of Hungarian decent. He was a very active participant
in civic, community, and church affairs. Mrs. Anna Zahoran
was also a funeral director and served as President until
her death in 1985.
Mr. Zahoran's three sons-in-law
followed in his footsteps and continued to operate the
business. The founder's grandson, Patrick
Nowak, joined the firm in 1986 as a Funeral Director, and
is currently President of Zahoran Funeral Home.
With hard work through the years, we've earned
the trust of families we have served and promised to make
every effort to maintain the high level of services that
Mr. Zahoran had established.
Family Business Sees
by Gene Stowe,
South Bend Tribune - 04/18/2011
When Michael Zahoran started Zahoran Funeral Home in 1922, the funerals were in his home, with front-room furniture rearranged for visitations. The home just for funerals was built in 1955.
"Prior to that, my grandfather would use their family home next door," said Patrick Nowak, who’s now the president of the business. "Prior to that, the caskets were taken to the families’ homes."
Nowak’s father, Francis, and two uncles, Zahoran’s sons-in-law, ran the business for years. Nowak joined in 1986, his sister-in-law Melanie Nowak works at the home and his son Brandon is studying at Ferris State University with plans to keep the family business going.
"We grew up just a couple of doors around the funeral home and were around it most of our lives helping out," Nowak said, who recalls the long-standing ethnic traditions at west-side funerals.
"Growing up, there were a lot of ethnic people in this area — Hungarian, Croatian, Serbian Orthodox," he said. "I still serve many of these families, since I have expanded over the years."
"With the Croatian folks, there was always a group of ladies singing in their native tongue, one of the funeral dirges. Now there are only a handful of those ladies left. That part of the service and the culture is diminishing because the younger people don’t know the language. With the Serbian Orthodox services that I do, more of those people seem to know their language and their prayers."
Another culture change: Companies no longer offer the insurance policies that old-time factories provided, helping people pay funeral expenses.
"I think the biggest thing right now is there is more cremation in the funeral industry now and a lot more pre-planning," Nowak says. "It’s just a fact of life that they need to do that."