I n 1915, William Robert and Mary E. (Kennedy) Clinkingbeard, with their children, Robert, Lois and Clarence, began The Clinkingbeard Furniture and Undertaking Company, located on the west side of the town square in Ava. Clarence and Lois worked right along with their father. Lois was the bookkeeper and secretary. In 1923 Clarence married Inez Garrison and at this time Inez joined the family business. In 1930, they established the first ambulance to serve the Douglas County community. Clarence (now a Licensed Embalmer) also served as Douglas County Coroner for several years.
In 1934, Clarence, Inez and Lois took over the firm as co-owners and, in 1939, sold the furniture business to devote fulltime to the funeral and ambulance services. It was at this time they also saw the need for a larger facility to serve the community and built a new Funeral Home at the present location in Ava.
In 1940, the Clinkingbeard Family opened a funeral home in Gainesville, MO just 35 miles south of Ava. In 1950, Clarence, along with his son, Lyle, built a new facility in Gainesville where it remains today.
As the business continued to grow in Ava, a second Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director, Charles Fish joined the company. He also helped drive the ambulance. In 1948, Shelt Dilsaver joined the firm as the full-time mechanic and also serviced the grave equipment in both Ava and Gainesville. Mr. Dilsaver worked with the Clinkingbeards until his death in 1981.
Lyle C. Clinkingbeard, son of Clarence and Inez, became a Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director and joined the firm fulltime in the early 1950s with additional duties as ambulance driver. In 1954, Lyle married Florence Rhoades and soon after, Florence received her funeral director’s license and began working with the family.
It was also in the 50’s that Bob Ussery, Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director became manager of the Gainesville firm. Upon Bob’s retirement in the early 1970s, Charles Fish and his wife, Wilma, managed the home in Gainesville for several years.
Lois Clinkingbeard, co-owner of the firm, retired in 1970 and at this time the Corporation was formed with Lyle, Florence, Clarence and Inez as co-owners. Lois had worked w/ the establishment since 1915. Also in 1970, after serving the Douglas and Ozark county area for 40 years, the Clinkingbeard family sold the ambulance business. In 1990, manager, Dave Goodnight, took over the Gainesville facility when Charles Fish retired. We were very saddened to of lost Dave from a short illness in 2008. Currently managing the Gainesville facility is Gene Britt.
Through the years the Clinkingbeard family has renovated and added on to their facilities to meet the needs of both counties. The Ava facility has two chapels.
The main chapel seats 350 and with overflow can seat 500. Both, Ava and Gainesville facilities are very accessible.
At the present time, Lyle and Florence, along with their children, Kirk Clinkingbeard and Toni (Clinkingbeard) Van Dyne are co-owners. Kirk and Toni are both licensed funeral directors.
They are members of MFDEA, NFDA, NFIB, AVA AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and other local organizations.