Vernon is the son of a minister, and after graduating from Indiana College of Mortuary Service, he moved to Columbus in 1960 to work for Wayne Reed at the Reed Funeral Home. He purchased the funeral home from Wayne in 1968 and it became known at Reed & Jewell Funeral Home Inc.
In the middle of the 1980's, Vernon sold the business to Myers Funeral Service, and in the late 1990's it was then sold to the world's largest funeral chain, Service Corporation International (publicly traded as SCI), also known as Dignity Memorial, headquartered in Houston, Texas.
In the meantime, Vernon's step-son Nick Rittman had graduated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service and was a funeral director in northern Indiana. Also, his son Heeth Jewell graduated from Mid-America, and they saw that Columbus needed to have a local, family owned funeral home, where decisions in the best interest of the community could be made locally, not many miles away. The family decided to open the Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home in 1999.
Vernon and his wife, Phyllis, live on a small farm with a few cattle. He has 3 children, Keith, Diane Smith, and Heeth. Rarely missing an opportunity to go fishing, he enjoys spending his evenings fishing at a local lake. He also enjoys spending time outdoors. Vernon has served the community of Bartholomew County for over 50 years. Besides being a funeral director, he has held several positions in local government, including: Bartholomew County Commissioner; Bartholomew County Auditor; and Bartholomew County Treasurer.
Nick is a 1989 graduate of Columbus East High School, and 1991 graduate of Mid America College of Mortuary Science. He is married to Jodi Beck Rittman and they have two children, Parker Rittman and Sloan Rittman.
Nick and his family are members of East Columbus Christian Church, he served as the past President of Columbus East Kiwanis Club and is currently a member of the Meridian Kiwanis Club, Camon Masonic Lodge #343, and the Columbus Area Emmaus Community. Nick also serves on the Board of Directors for Our Hospice of South-Central Indiana. When he is not helping families, he loves to spend time playing golf with the Tuesday night men’s league at Otter Creek Golf Course, fishing and spending time with his family.
Hello! My name is Heeth Jewell, and I am here to tell you a bit about myself. I am a 1995 graduate of Columbus East High School, and a 1998 graduate of Mid-America College of Funeral Service. Prior to attending Mid-America, I attended Circleville Bible College in Circleville, Ohio for a year and a half. Ask anyone who knows me how I feel about animals. I certainly hope that the words "animal lover" are somewhere in their response (especially for dogs). I label myself a typical "Video Game Nerd", but if you ask my family, they would say my video game habit is much more closely described as an obsession.
I am a member of the Indiana Funeral Director's Association, Camon Masonic Lodge #343, and my wife and I are members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
I want to say thank you to all the wonderful individuals and families I have had the honor of serving over the years. I have came in contact with many wonderful people over the years, and meeting all of you has been the most rewarding part of my job. I greatly appreciate you allowing me to be a part of your lives.
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”
– Bob Kerrey
L.D. McCoy, Funeral Director
Lawrence Dreiman McCoy, known to friends and family as “L. D.” is a funeral director at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home. A lifelong Hoosier, L. D. began his career in funeral service in 1971. He is a graduate of South Knox High School, Vincennes University and Indiana College of Mortuary Science.
L. D. and his wife, Jennie moved to Columbus in 2011 to be near their daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Brent Bodem and granddaughters, Lydia and Eliza. They enjoy the Columbus community and have felt very welcomed here. They are “parents” to their Boston Terriers, Big Otis and Little Miss Phoebe. He enjoys spending his free time keeping his lawn perfect, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and spending time with family. Jennie is a retired school teacher from South Madison School Corporation.
Elaine Bailey, Funeral Director
Elaine has been a member of our staff since 2010. She graduated with honors from Mid-America College of Funeral Service in 2012. Elaine also graduated from Wilson University located in Elk Grove, California. She holds a Certificate in Christian Counseling with Principles in Soteric, Grief and Loss, Addiction and Couples Counseling. She is a grandmother to 4 now. Her oldest grandchild, Angel Coffey was laid to rest in 2012. Elaine also has two grand-dogs, a Golden Doodle named Mia, and a German Shepherd named Bella and her own Yorkie, Annie, AKA (Scruffy). She is a member of the Lighthouse Tabernacle located in Crothersville, Indiana. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, friends, remodeling her home, attending church conferences, singing with friends, riding in her Jeep and traveling. In 1994 when Elaine’s Father, Ira Cox, passed away, she felt a calling to funeral service to care for those grieving and hurting. From making coffee to embalming, Elaine is here to serve you and your family in any capacity.
Kyra King, Funeral Director
Kyra has been with Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home since 2020. Kyra is a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School, a 2012 graduate of Paul Mitchell the School, and a 2020 graduate of Ivy Tech Community College. Kyra enjoys spending time with her son, and in their spare time, they enjoy spending time in nature, painting, and beadwork.
David Akers, Funeral Director
David is originally from Versailles, Indiana. He graduated from South Ripley High School in 1971 and Indiana College of Mortuary Science in 1973. After 12 years in funeral service David began a 27 year career with UPS. After his retirement in 2013 he joined the staff at Jewell – Rittman.
David is a member of Versailles Masonic Lodge #7, Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis, and Sons of American Legion #173. He and his wife, Karen have two children, Matt Akers and Becky Brown and four grandchildren.
Matt Buzzard, Support Staff
Matt is a lifelong resident of Columbus, a 2004 graduate of Columbus East High School and has been with Jewell-Rittman Funeral Home since 2014. Matt enjoys assisting in any manner whether at the funeral home or in public. Matt is a member of Elizabethtown United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown and also enjoys attending Central Heights Church of God. In his free time Matt enjoys trips to Tennessee, visiting family and playing with his cats.
Steve Fushelberger, Support Staff
Steve has been part of our support staff since 2018. He has a very extensive background in in marketing, communications and client support services, that helps serve the families that call on Jewell-Rittman Funeral Home. Steve also has an immense amount of experience in the aviation industry to include having a commercial multi-engine pilot license and has also worked with clients from several Fortune 500 companies to include Cummins. When Steve is not working, he enjoys hiking, playing pickleball and traveling.
Derek Carpenter, Support Staff
Derek has been with Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home since 2020 as part of our support staff. Derek is a husband, father of 5 girls, and also serves as the lead pastor for 500 North Church in Edinburgh and the chaplain for the Edinburgh Fire Department. Derek enjoys spending time with family and friends, smoking meats, golfing and watching Michigan Wolverines football. Derek is passionate for helping people in their greatest time of need.
Connor Shockley, Support Staff
Connor serves as one of our support staff and is a junior in high school, he also helps with yard maintenance at Bethel Holiness Church. Connor enjoys golfing, shopping and spending time with his family and friends.
Reed Chapman, Support Staff
Reed is originally from Wichita Falls, Texas and serves as a full-time minister at The Ridge Church here in Columbus. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, kayaking and playing board games.
Keith Jewell, October 11, 1961 - April 23, 2016
Keith passed away on April 23, 2016. This was his original biography:
Hi, my name is Keith Jewell. I have been part of funeral service for most of my life. While growing up, my father Vernon Jewell, owned the Reed and Jewell Funeral Home. Later I was part owner and manager of the Jewell and Curry Burial Vault Company. I graduated from Columbus East High School in 1979. My wife, Donna Jewell, and I have four children: Cortney, Gage, Tyffani, and Wesley Jewell. We have been blessed with four grandchildren up to this point.
We are members of the First Church of the Nazarene. When not working, I like to spend time with my family and grandchildren.
Jodi grew up in the North Manchester, Indiana, and graduated from Manchester High School. In 1994 she graduated from Manchester College with degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice. In 1998, she and Nick moved to Columbus to start the funeral home. Jodi is married to Nick Rittman and they have two children, Parker and Sloan. Jodi works part time at the funeral home.