July of 1911, Ole L. Langren opened up the Langren Furniture and Undertaking business at 129 North Sibley Avenue in Litchfield. He operated this business until January of 1917 when he sold the furniture and undertaking business to Dewy Johnson. Mr. Johnson, who moved around town with several businesses and bought several buildings as investments, added a "Morgue Room" in the rear of his furniture store making it Litchfield's first.
In March of 1929, C.A. Swanson and Reuben Hagglund came from Cokato and purchased the businesses calling it the Swanson and Hagglund Furniture and Undertaking business. Reuben Hagglund bought out C.A. Swanson in November of 1935 and moved the Undertaking Business to the present location of 316 S. Sibley Avenue the same year.
B. Peter Nelson, who was an active businessman and banker, built the building at 316 South Sibley Ave in 1903. There was a tennis court on the south side of the house and a 3-stall carriage house on the north. The third floor was a ballroom where many dances were held. Nelson sold the home to Arthur McCormack and his wife in 1917 who lived there until 1925 when they sold it to Horace J. Minar who then sold it to the Hagglunds in 1935.
After becoming an Undertaking Parlor and Funeral Home in 1935, Reuben and his wife, Frances, lived in the second and third floors of the home and conducted funeral services in the first floor. He added a second "room for reviewals" in the mid 1940's.
In June of 1957, Reuben and Frances sold the funeral home and furniture business to Don Cole who sold it back to them in a short time. Reuben continued to perform funeral services at the funeral home and sold the furniture business to Don Brock in 1959. In October of 1960, Reuben sold the funeral home business to Don Johnson who worked with both Reuben Hagglund and Lee Buckley, a funeral director who had worked with Reuben at the funeral home as a funeral director.
Don Johnson changed the name from Hagglund Funeral Home in January 1964 to Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home. He made additions to the funeral home in three steps; in 1970, he added office space and bathrooms on the north side of the building. In 1972, he added a new casket display room on the south side and in 1979 added to the display room turning it into a chapel and changed the front doors from the east side on Hwy 22 to the south side on Weisel street. He also added a connected garage, warehouse, and new display room on the north side.
In October of 1994, Don sold the funeral home to his son Tim Johnson who operated it with his wife Karen until 1999 when it was purchased by Tom Vertin, a third generation funeral director who continues the tradition of family-owned funeral service in Litchfield.
In 2010, Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home and Cremation Service was honored with the 2010 Pursuit of Excellence Best of the Best Award by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) during its International Convention and Expo. Only 8 firms from around the world received this prestigious recognition in 2010, placing the funeral home among an elite group of funeral service professionals.
Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home and Cremation Service has also received the Pursuit of Excellence Award several times. Recipients raise the bar on funeral service excellence by adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards and providing unsurpassed service to families and communities. To earn an NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Award, a participating funeral home must meet or exceed business standards set forth by the program and demonstrate proficiency in key areas the funeral service, such as compliance with state and federal regulations; providing ongoing education and professional development opportunities for staff; offering outstanding programs and resources to bereaved families; maintaining an active level of involvement within the community; participating and actively serving in the funeral service profession; and promoting funeral home services through a variety of marketing, advertising and public relations programs.
“Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home and Cremation Services voluntary participation in the Pursuit of Excellence program reflects a clear determination to exceed the expectations of those they serve,” said NFDA Chief Executive Officer Christine Pepper, CAE. “This prestigious recognition assures families of the high-quality, compassionate service they will receive the moment they walk through the funeral home’s front door.”