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"Before giving the history of our firm, it seems appropriate that I should first describe some of the previous undertaking firms in the areas that we now serve."
- Richard V. Bibber, C.F.S.P., President

KENNEBUNKPORT

Kennebunkport's first undertaker was Samuel Lewis, a cabinet maker who made coffins with glass tops from 1801, until his death.   In 1857, he made 2,500 coffins - including his own.

The next funeral home in Kennebunkport, was run by a gentleman, named Oliver Huff. Huff owned the local butcher shop, so naturally he had a team of horses and a good rugged wagon - equipment necessary for an undertaker. Huff made his own coffins and boxes. His place of business was on West Street. As most deaths occurred at home, I am sure that he would get his team, load up the wagon with the box that he had made, travel to the place of death, and then on to the cemetery at the Town House.

I have two Statements of Death from Oliver Huff. One, dated April 12, 1858, itemizes one coffin $2.75, box $1.00, robe $.50, services $1.00, and a name plate $1.00, for a grand total of $6.25. The other statement, dated November 30, 1866, lists one coffin $3.50, silver mounted name plate $.50, box $1.25, transportation $.50, services $2.00 and robe $.65, for a grand total of $8.40. As you can see, itemization was in effect over 150 years ago.

The next establishment that I could find out about that conducted Kennebunkport funerals was run by a Mr. B.E. Goss. His principal business was located in York, but he had a branch in Kennebunk Lower Village, located behind the Sunoco Station.  I believe his building now houses the Kennebunk's Chamber of Commerce. After receiving a call, it was necessary for him to cross the river to Kennebunkport to rent a team of horses for his hearse.

In Kennebunkport from the early 1900's into the 1920's, coffins and mourners were transported on the electric car line to the Arundel Cemetery at the Town House. The fact that the trolley ran along side of the cemetery and that the car barn was directly across the street from the cemetery, made it convenient for the deceased and the mourners alike to travel to the cemetery by trolley car.

KENNEBUNK

Early Kennebunk undertakers had the use of a town-owned hearse. The Kennebunk Hearse Barn was erected behind the Unitarian Church next to Hope Cemetery, and to this day is still at that location.

Kennebunk funeral homes, that I can recall or find out about, were the Lucas Funeral Home, located behind the Baptist Church on Main Street at the Blue Wave Mall, and the Hurd Funeral Home located on Dane Street. Paul Hurd ran the business, and also had another funeral home on Winter Street in Sanford. Another firm in Kennebunk, the Evans and Wakefield Funeral Home, was located at the junction of Storer and Fletcher Streets. I believe this firm was closed in the late 1940's.

Around 1940, the Hurd firm was sold to the Dennett & Craig firm in Saco. The manager, Leonard Angell, bought the firm and changed the name to Angell Funeral Home in the 1950's. Mr. Angell eventually sold his interest in the firm to his son David. In 1976, the Bibbers bought the Angell business, consolidating the firm to the Summer Street location of Bibber Memorial Chapel.

WELLS

Our firm in Wells, built in 1986, is the first funeral home in decades to operate in that town, as the community was served very capably by firms in Kennebunk, North Berwick, and York. There was a funeral home in Wells for a brief time. It was located on Route One in a building that is now The Seagull Hotel and Motel. Another firm, in the mid 1960's, never was licensed as a funeral home. This firm was on the Sanford Road where the Kennebunk Savings Bank now stands.

BIBBER MEMORIAL CHAPEL

Bibber Memorial Chapel at Kennebunkport and Kennebunk was founded by my father, Earl V. Bibber. Earl completed his apprenticeship program at the Hay and Peabody Funeral Home in Portland, ME. He was a graduate at Portland's Deering High School and completed his formal education at the MacAllister School of Embalming in New York City in March 1938.  That same year, he was married to Phyllis Maxham.

Being young, energetic and eager to get started in building a business, Earl and Phyllis looked at several locations on the coast of Maine, among them, Camden and Kennebunkport. The decision was reached to settle in Kennebunkport as this was a bit nearer to Boston, Portland, and Nashua, NH where they both had family ties. Kennebunkport was a small community, 90 miles north of Boston and halfway between Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME.

The Bibbers' first home was located on Maine Street, and was rented from a family named Blacklock. This home, I am told, was cold, very hard to heat, and not really suitable for a funeral home, but it was the location of their funeral and ambulance business until the spring of 1939 when they moved across the street to the corner of Elm and Maine Streets. The Kennebunkport Bibber Funeral Home served the townspeople until 1987, after Earl passed away, and was used sporadically for an occasional visitation or small service until it was sold in 1999.

In September 1939, a son, Richard V. Bibber, was born to the young couple. Must have been cold nights at the Blacklock House! In 1947, a daughter, Martha Ann, was born to the Bibbers. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Paul Schmidt; daughter, Sara and son, Brian.

In those days almost all funeral homes operated the ambulance in their community. The first of our vehicles, that I can recall, was a side-loading limousine which was used as the ambulance and for removals. This was supplemented by a family car if needed. Up until we purchased our first vehicle, I believe we rented what we needed from the Sansoucy firm in Biddeford and from the Shumway firm in Saco. Sansoucy's had a "Super Coach", a Henry Packard with running boards and spare tires on each side; truly a sharp coach.

Our first combination car was a 1948 Cadillac Combination Unit. Wow! What a car! I was not old enough to have a drivers license, but with only one police officer in town whose schedule I knew pretty well, I would take that super machine down to the local garage for gas, to check the tires, or whatever, about two times a week. I had to sit on a pillow to see out, but no problem.

Our casket display area was the same area we used for visitations and funerals, so that following the casket selection, out the caskets would go to the garage. We had to carry them all back in following the service. What a task! But, as a fella says, "Gotta do what ya gotta do."

The business grew beyond our facilities in Kennebunkport, and in November 1956 the property at 67 Summer Street in Kennebunk was purchased. The first visitation at the facility was for Phyllis M. Bibber. My mother had been terminally ill during the time of purchase and remolding of the new facility, but saw it completed before her death.

The building at 67 Summer Street, a large Victorian house 126 years old. It is located in Kennebunk's Historical District which was named a National Register Historic District in 1974. In December 1957, Earl remarried, to Eleanor (Ruth) Brann of Augusta, who served as Secretary/Treasurer at Bibber Funeral Home until his deathn in 1987.  She continued to visit the funeral home in Kennebunk on a daily basis until her death in 2008.

I graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1957 and from New England Institute of Anatomy and Sanitary Science in Boston, MA in 1959. In 1961, I married Joanne Larson and during this marriage had two sons, Edward Vaughan born in 1962 and Douglas Richard born in 1965. Then, in 1976, married Patricia (Turgeon) Bibber who has been active in the firm and currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

In 1975, the Bibbers built new offices, new selection rooms and a new state of the art Preparation Room. In 1976, the Bibber Memorial Chapel purchased the Angell Funeral Home business and merged that business into the Summer Street location. The summers were especially busy with the ambulance transporting patients in emergent and non emergent situations.  This was the time of year tourists "from away" filled the community of Kennebunkport.  Unfortunately, it was not unusual to transport some back to New York, Montreal or some other location by ambulance because of a fracture or just unable to make the trip home by car.  As our communities grew, so did the number of ambulance calls.  When the Webber Hospital closed at its Elm Street location in Biddeford, we assisted in the transport of its patients to the newly built Southern Maine Medical Center.  In 1979, Bibbers donated its ambulance and all its related equipment to the Town of Kennebunkport, thus ending a span of 40 years of ambulance service to the Kennebunks and surrounding communities. Kennebunkport is now served by Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Services (KEMS).

In the Fall of 1984, my son Edward joined the firm as a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, a great feat as Edward is deaf. Overcoming that handicap, he became the State's first deaf licensed Funeral Practitioner. Ed graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1981, and completed his studies at New England Institute in 1984.  Edward has served as President Maine Funeral Directors and Kennebunk Rotary Club.  Ed has two daughters, Erin and Carly, who are both college students.  Ed is married to Patricia (Albee) Bibber.

My second son, Douglas, graduated from Kennebunk High in 1983, and Business Degree from Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, NH in 1987. He then continued his studies at New England Institute in Boston receiving his Mortuary Science Degree in 1988, at which time he joined the family firm.  That same year, he married Robin (Hewitt) Bibber and they have two children, Luke and Grace who are both college students.

In 1986, Richard and Patricia broke ground for a new funeral home in Wells. This building, erected to meet the needs of the community, opened in November of 1987.

In March of 1987 Earl V. Bibber died leaving behind not only a second generation, but a third generation of Funeral Directors to meet the needs of our communities.

In the spring of 2002, the Bibbers purchased the Laing Funeral Chapel located in Berwick, ME, changing the name to the Laing-Bibber Funeral Chapel.  Berwick is the 9th oldest town in Maine and is located on the NH border.

In 2001, the Bibbers added on to their Summer Street location with a new chapel for visitations and services, as well as new arrangement offices and a new selection room. We continue to utilize up-to-date equipment and technology for use in our services.  All of our Directors attend seminars to increase their knowledge of current trends of services available to the families we serve and earn a minimum of 6 CEU's each year.  In 2013, the firm celebrated it's 75 year anniversary of serving their wonderful communities that they are honored to serve.

The Bibber firm is a member of the Maine Funeral Directors Association with the late Earl V. Bibber, Richard V. Bibber, Edward V. Bibber and Douglas R. Bibber all being past presidents. The firm is also a member of the National Funeral Directors Association. For over 50 years, Bibbers has been a member of the Associated Funeral Directors Association and of the Selected Independent Funeral Homes (SIFH) of which Richard served as a board member and president.

The current officers of the firm are Richard V. Bibber, CEO; Edward V. Bibber, President; Douglas R. Bibber, Vice-President; and Patricia A. Bibber, Secretary/Treasurer.

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Proudly Serving the Communities of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel, Wells, Ogunquit, North Berwick, Cape Neddick, Berwick, South Berwick, Lyman, Alfred, Lebanon, Waterboro, Somersworth, NH, and Rochester NH
207-985-2752 Bibber Memorial Chapel
67 Summer Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Email: help@bibberfuneral.com
207-646-6133 Bibber Memorial Chapel
111 Chapel Road
Wells, ME 04090
Email: help@bibberfuneral.com
207-698-1105 Laing Bibber Funeral Chapel
36 Rochester Street
Berwick, ME 03901
Email: help@bibberfuneral.com
207-985-2752 Bibber Memorial Chapel
67 Summer Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Email: help@bibberfuneral.com
207-985-2752 Bibber Memorial Chapel
67 Summer Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Email: help@bibberfuneral.com