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History

History

For five generations we have been honored to be entrusted with the final care of your loved ones. Our commitment to the memory and dignity of family, faith and tradition has been our family's passion since 1925.

The story of Schaff Funeral Services began as so many family businesses start in this country, by accident. When John Schaff (1st Generation) was welcomed into the world in 1897, in the town of Suhopolje, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his family never imagined that he would come to America and begin a thriving business that would touch so many, so deeply. His family immigrated to the United States when John was 8 years old and chose the growing town of Milwaukee to plant their roots. John's father became active in the community and their church as they settled into life here in the United States.

>John decided to venture on his own and opened Schaff's Bar on St. Paul Avenue, and began catering to the large and growing population of Eastern European immigrants. The bar was located around the corner from Mueller's Funeral Home which also catered to the new and growing population. This, however, created a problem for Mr Miller, as he only spoke English, while many of his new customers only spoke Serbo-Croatian or German. Thus began the association that was to create the Schaff legacy.

Mr. Mueller soon began to rely on John to translate for him when making funeral arrangements. As more immigrants learned that they could find help at Mueller's Funeral Home, John was finding himself spending More and more time there. soon he decided to close the tavern business and become a funeral director full-time. In 1925, he bought the business from Mr. Mueller and opened Schaff Funeral Services on 24th and Vliet Street.

His son, John A. Schaff (second generation), was born in Wisconsin in 1918. When he graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science and entered the business with his father in 1939, they relocated the business to its present location on 60th and Lincoln Avenue and continued the tradition of serving the large eastern European and German populations. John A. was a diverse man. He belonged to the Wisconsin Geological Society and as a lapidary, made jewelry from the rocks acquired on his travels (many samples are still on display today in the foyer of the funeral home).

John A.'s personality and integrity helped him make friends and form close relationships easily. He was a very active member in his church community, as well as numerous other groups.

In 1961, John V. Schaff, John A.'s son and a third generation funeral director entered the business. John V. attended St John's Military Academy for two years and the remaining two years at Pius XI High School. He, like his father, had the ability to develop strong and lasting bonds with the families and the communities he served And also enjoyed being connected to community organizations like West Allis Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, and South Shore Yacht Club.

Brian R. Schaff also a third generation funeral director and John A.'s son, was also gifted in working with wood and continued his grandfather's tradition of making our signature white crosses used during funerals. He enjoyed long time memberships in Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Wild Turkey Federation. He also enjoyed the sports of hunting and fishing and Milwaukee Brewer Games. The two brothers recognized the responsibility and trusted to them on a daily basis when planning the burial of a loved one, treating everyone with the respect and dignity they deserved.

This knowledge was passed on to John V.'s two sons, John W. and Paul A., who were to soon become the fourth generation of the Schaff family serving the needs of the community.

Today, Paul A. Schaff continues adhering to the traditions and customs of many faiths and cultures that he and all of the Schaff's were introduced to at an early age, attending various ethnic picnics, dances, banquets, concerts, etc. and feeling the honor & richness of being treated like an extended family member.

Schaff Funeral Home is proud that a fifth generation will continue the tradition that began 95 years ago of dedicated service to the Southeastern Wisconsin community and beyond.

John Schaff 1897-1945

John A. Schaff 1918-1982

John V. Schaff 1940-1999

Brian R. Schaff 1955-2017

 

Schaff Funeral Service
Phone: (414) 541-7533
Fax: (414) 541-7570
5920 West Lincoln Ave., West Allis, WI 53219


© Schaff Funeral Service
Crafted with care by Frazer Consultants and TA