T he Renner-Wikoff firm is the oldest funeral business in Champaign-Urbana and is also believed to be the first funeral home in Central Illinois to be run exclusively as a funeral business. Funeral homes generally were operated in conjunction with livery stables, furniture stores or other businesses. They did not, at that time, have their own carriages and the furniture business was practical when chairs for a service were needed.
Enos H. Renner operated a livery business at 206 W. Main Street. Shuck and Fox rented horses and carriages for funeral services from Renner. In the late 1890’s Renner became interested in the funeral business and when Fox died, Renner bought the entire business. He acquired the Besore home, the former home of Judge William Somers at Race and Green, remodeled the house and moved the business there in 1921.
Before that time, Renner provided ambulance service for the community with horse drawn vehicles. When he moved the firm to the Besore property he began the first motorized ambulance service in the area.