Three locally-owned Valley funeral home businesses that have been locally owned for nearly a century or more have been sold to Heritage Group LLC, a funeral service provider based in Tennessee.

The three independently owned Valley funeral homes - Lane, Becker and Baumgardner - businesses will maintain their names, but will be run by Heritage Group LLC, a family-owned business based out of Elizabethton, Tennessee.

The transition of ownership will take place at the end of the year. 

Lane Funeral Homes, with offices in Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, Niles, Cortland, Warren, Brookfield, and Mineral Ridge, has been locally owned in the Valley for 167 years, all the way back to 1855. 

Becker Funeral Homes has been in business since 1896 - 126 years - with locations in Boardman, Lowellville, Struthers, and Poland.

Baumgardner Funeral and Cremation Service in Kinsman and Andover started in 1944.

21 News reached out to the owners for comment on the decision to sell and what it means for the businesses and for the employees.

According to Joseph Lane, President and CEO of the Lane Companies, "This is a decision that was made after much heart-felt consideration and what was the right decision for my family, my employees and the communities we serve."

Kelly Becker of Becker Funeral Homes said, "Working in the death care profession we are all aware the unexpected can happen. We are relieved to know if anything should happen to us, the owners, our funeral businesses will carry on and our employees will be taken care of."

Employees of the three Valley funeral homes were notified of the sale on Oct. 10.

According to the press release, the staff and owners shall continue with the companies, either by employment or providing consulting services.
21 News reached out to Heritage Family Group but did not reach a statement on the purchase or future plans.
The press release stated, "All companies shall continue to thrive and maintain the level of standards their families are accustomed to, as well as offer more quality-of-life benefits to their employees."