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Verdugo Views: Kiefer makes a name for himself in mortuary business

May 09, 2013|By Katherine Yamada
  • Pulliam Undertaking Co. at 305 E Broadway was one of the earliest mortuaries in town. In 1919, Emil Kiefer joined the business and later it became Kiefer and Eyerick and moved to Harvard Street.
Pulliam Undertaking Co. at 305 E Broadway was one of the… (Courtesy of the…)

A small notice in a 1916 edition of the Glendale Evening News informed readers, "Emil Kiefer, an employee at the White Store, is now working for Pulliam Undertaking Co. He intends to make this his life's work. He is a young man of great energy. He came here from Minnesota two years ago and has made many friends."

But shortly after this notice ran, Kiefer said good bye to his many friends — including a young lady we'll meet later in the story — and left town.

He was in the first group of volunteers who responded to the call to fight in the Great War, as World War I was known in those days.

After the war ended and he was honorably discharged and back at work, another announcement appeared in a 1919 newspaper, noting that Kiefer was now a partner at Pulliam's, at 305 E. Broadway, which had made radical changes, including a larger chapel and a display room to show 50 different casket designs.

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Kiefer's engagement to a lovely young lady was announced in December 1921.

Leone Shattuck, of 114 W. Broadway, had lived in Glendale since she was 13. Her father was in the railroad construction business with William Burton and in 1913 they were asked to construct a small railroad in the new subdivision of Montrose, opened by Holmes and Walton. A rail line had already been built up to Verdugo Park and they were asked to extend the line into Montrose and the Crescenta Valley.

Shattuck graduated from Glendale Union and then worked as an assistant librarian in charge of the youth department at the public library on Harvard Street.

The couple met several years before through Shattuck's father, who was impressed with Kiefer's enterprising spirit. He knew Kiefer had volunteered for the city's first fire department (the men slept at the fire department the nights they were on duty) and wanted him to meet his daughter. So an introduction was arranged.

Their romance blossomed, according to a 1985 News-Press story, but it was interrupted when Kiefer left to join the Navy during the Great War.

On Christmas Eve, 1921, Shattuck's parents opened their home to 20 of Leone's friends and she shared the news of her impending marriage by presenting each guest with a verse, "You wonder about the wedding date. We are very sure you do. It is January 22, in 1922."

That was a momentous year for the young couple. After they were married in January he took on a new partner, as Pulliam had died the year before.

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