Our History

Since 1898

House

Vassar–Rawls Funeral Home is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the LC valley. The funeral home, first established around 1900, was moved on July 25, 1912, from the Main Street location to 9th and Idaho Streets. The building, which is more than 100 years old in 1972, was cut in half, moved and reassembled.

The establishment was first located at a site that was later occupied by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). It then moved into the home of Grostein family, area pioneers. This is the building that was moved. The structure was damaged by fire in 1934 and has been remodeled several times but stood to offer funeral services.

The business was started by Joseph O. Vassar and his son Clyde J. Vassar, who came to Lewiston in 1898 after living at Pullman and Pomeroy. They established the business in the mansion in 1900. It was the first funeral home in the Inland Empire region, according to Vincent V. and Andrew Vassar, sons of Clyde Vassar. Clyde Vassar died in 1920 and the business was operated by his wife Alice until 1946. These two sons and Elbert S. Rawls then took over management of the business. Rawls died in 1968. Joining Vincent and Andrew Vassar in operating the funeral home were Vincent's sons, Richard A. and John D. Vassar.

The Vassar’s constructed a new building at it’s present location at 920-21st Avenue and moved the business, opening on January 17, 1976. Vincent Vassar died in 1976 after opening the business’ new facility. Andrew Vassar died in 1987.  Richard and John Vassar continued to operate the business.  Richard and John retired from daily operations in 2007, but continue to assist families.

Before the Vassars came to the valley, funeral services were usually associated with hardware or some other store, Vassar said. Much of the funeral was arranged by the family.  The funeral home at first just sold caskets but as time went by it took on more and more duties, including dressing and cleaning the bodies, providing transportation to cemeteries and arranging services.

Originally the funeral home operated the ambulance service too. In 1913 the Vassars brought the first motorized ambulance and hearse to the valley. The two vehicles and family touring car were shipped to Lewiston by the Studebaker Wagon Works. The Vassars operated the ambulance until 1939.

Dennis W. Hastings began working at Vassar-Rawls in 1992 and Jason M. Harwick in 2004.   They continue to operate the business today.

 

 

Business Hours & Directions

Business Hours

Sunday: Closed

Monday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Wednesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Saturday: Closed

map View larger map
920 21st Avenue
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
(208) 743-6541 or 800-584-8812
vrfh@cableone.net