Renner-Wikoff Chapel is one of the oldest funeral homes in the Champaign-Urbana area 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 stable, furniture stores or other related businesses.
Renner's ambulance with awaiting Nurse in front of Race & Green Street
E. H. Renner Funeral Home 1921
Renner-Wikoff Chapel 1964
Enos H. Renner operated a livery business at 206 W Main St. in Urbana. Shuck and Fox rented horses and carriages for funeral services from Renner. In the later 1890’s, Renner, after the death of Mr. Fox, bought his business. He later acquired the former home of Judge William Somers at Race and Green, remodeled the house and moved the business there in 1921.
Before that time, Mr. Renner provided ambulance service for the community with horse drawn vehicles. When he moved the firm to the Somers property he began the first motorized ambulance service in the area.
P. T. Wikoff and J. T. Wilcox purchased the funeral home in 1930 but retained the Renner name. After the death of Mr. Wilcox in 1945, Mr. Wikoff took over the business and in 1960 moved it to the property at 202 and 204 S. Race St. In 1964 he built the current funeral home at Philo Rd. and Colorado to make room for the development of Lincoln Square in down town Urbana. At the time of opening at the new location it was featured in several mortuary trade journals, primarily because it was one of the few funeral homes designed specifically for that use.
After the retirement of the previous owners, long time directors, Stephen Ater (1985) and Matthew Schable (1997) took over ownership. The commitment to the community over the years has not changed, to provide the finest services possible with honesty and dignity.
“The oldest funeral business in Champaign-Urbana, …also is believed to be the first funeral home in Central Illinois to be run exclusively as a funeral business.”