New owners, same name

Lentz, Brundage acquire Historic Bruce Funeral Home; Business has had presence in FD since the 1930s

-Messenger photos by Peter Kaspari
Jamie Brundage, left, and Jayme Lentz, owners of Historic Bruce Funeral Home, go over some funeral plans recently. The two recently became owners of Historic Bruce Funeral Home as of Jan. 1.

Two longtime funeral directors recently took ownership of a funeral home that has been a part of Fort Dodge for more than 70 years.

Historic Bruce Funeral Home, 923 First Ave. S., was purchased by Jayme Lentz and Jamie Brundage on Jan. 1.

Lentz, who also owns Lentz Funeral Home in Algona, said he had been in discussions to purchase Bruce Funeral Home for a few years after speaking with Tim Kulow, who was the previous owner of the funeral home.

“He had been there for six years and had really done a lot to rebuild the funeral home,” Lentz said. “And I’ve known him for probably three to four years, and I have a funeral home up in Algona.”

He and Kulow developed a good professional relationship with each other.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Jamie Brundage, left, and Jayme Lentz, owners of Historic Bruce Funeral Home, pose on the stairwell inside the home. The two recently took over ownership of the longtime funeral home.

“Tim and I would cover each other on weekends if we wanted to get out of town for a day,” he said.

Recently, he said Kulow approached him about the possibility of selling the funeral home.

“He just approached me, told me he was at that age, he wanted to retire,” Lentz said. “We sat down and I decided to buy the funeral home.”

Lentz got in touch with Brundage and asked her to be his managing partner.

Brundage said she’s originally from Lehigh, but has spent the past 12 years working at Major Erickson Funeral Home in Mason City.

“I’m excited to be back in the area and serve the people of Fort Dodge and the surrounding areas,” she said. “Fort Dodge is a progressive, growing community and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

She also has family in Fort Dodge and Dayton.

According to Lentz, Bruce’s Funeral Home offers a variety of options for funerals.

“We offer traditional services, cremation services,” he said. “We help families who choose body donation. We do own and operate our own crematory.”

Lentz said they also offer pre-arrangements, “whether that’s just specifying what type of service they want or actually setting up a trust to pay for the service they wish to have.”

There are no plans for any major changes either.

“The name will stay the same,” Lentz said. “If we did anything different, it would be adding personalization to the families we served.”

He said he and Brundage will use their experiences working in other funeral homes to help the families that come to them after losing a loved one.

“It’ll be minor changes, but we’re always looking for ways to improve the services we offer to families that call on us,” he said. “And we plan to continue what Tim has started; continue to update the facility and find better ways to serve families.”

Lentz said he and Brundage make a good team.

“I’ve owned a funeral home for 13 years, so I have a lot of the business background,” he said. “We’ve both been licensed close to 20 years. Jamie’s worked in Mason City in a larger community like Fort Dodge, so she has that experience. And I’ve worked mostly in rural areas.”

“I wouldn’t say we’ve seen it all,” he added, “but we’ve seen quite a lot. We’ve experienced and helped families in lots of different situations.”

Lentz said he’ll spend most of his time in Algona while Brundage will spend much of her time in Fort Dodge.

“She lives here locally and I’ll be helping her and she might help me at the other location,” he said. “But when services come up, I’ll be here to help here, and we have another funeral director (Jessica Ubben, of Humboldt) that will assist us as well.”

The building that Historic Bruce Funeral Home is located in was built in 1890, according to The Messenger archives. It has been a funeral home ever since Byron Wilder purchased the house in 1936.

In 1938, it became Wilder and Bruce after Mack Bruce became a partner.

Bruce took over Wilder’s interest in the company in 1945, and ever since then, it’s been known as Bruce’s Funeral Home.

Through the years, renovations to the funeral home have included a new chapel that was added in 1956, the 1988 refurbishing of a large stained glass window in the stairwell, and a 2001 remodel that included moving the casket selection area to a wheelchair-accessible room.