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.
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 families I have had the honor of serving over the years. I have met many wonderful people while serving the people of Bartholomew County. 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.
I'm Nick Rittman and I am a 1989 graduate of Columbus East High School, and 1991 graduate of Mid America College of Mortuary Science. I am married to Jodi and we have two children, Parker and Sloan.
We are members of East Columbus Christian Church. I am a member of the Columbus East Kiwanis Club, Camon Masonic Lodge #343, and the Columbus Area Emmaus Community. When I am not helping families, I love to spend my free time playing sports, fishing and watching a good movie.
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 2 Boston Terriers, Harley and Dolly. He enjoys spending his free time riding his Victory Vision motorcycle, walking his Boston Terriers and spending time with family. Jennie is a retired school teacher from South Madison School Corporation.
Karen is usually the first voice you hear when you call the office and has been a member of our staff since 2009. Originally from the Columbus area, Karen returned in 1981 after graduating from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky with a degree in art education.
Karen and her husband, Jim, are members of the Community Church of Columbus. Karen has two children, Lindsay and Jeremy, who are both married and one grandchild, Oceana. Being an active part of the church, riding bikes and travel keep Karen busy when she is not in the office.
Cecil R. Key
Cecil has been a member of our staff since 2007, greeting visitors, parking cars, and assisting at graveside services. Cecil and his wife, Doris, have three daughters, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Cecil is a veteran of the Navy and retired from Cummins Engine Company. He is an active member of the Columbus East Kiwanis and a member of the Moose Lodge.
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.
The son of the late Keith Jewell, Wesley has been a valued member of our staff since May of 2016. Wesley is a 2016 graduate of Columbus Signature Academy and is currently studying to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
Wesley can often be seen parking cars for funerals or greeting you with a smile as you walk through the door. He can also be found helping his grandpa Vernon with projects around the funeral home. In his free time Wesley enjoys coaching Basketball.
Ben Higginbotham, Funeral Director
Ben has spent more than 10 years working in funeral homes, he is a native of Seymour, IN and spent several years working for Burkholder Funeral Chapel in Seymour.
Ben not only holds a Funeral Directors License with the State of Indiana but is also a Certificated Cremation Arranger through a national cremation organization.
Elaine Bailey, Funeral Director
Elaine has been a member of our staff since 2011. She graduated with honors from Mid-America College of Funeral Service in 2012. She is a grandmother to Noah, Brooklynn, Vanessa, Aleah and one grand-dog, a golden doodle, Mia. She has been a member of the Apostolic Tabernacle of Edinburgh for over 25 years. In her spare time she enjoys remodeling her home, attending church conferences, camp meetings, singing with friends and traveling with the Apostolic’s at Sea group. Her favorite choir is the Pentecostals of Katy Choir of Katy, Texas, with Shara Mckee. In 1994 when Elaine’s Father, Ira Cox, died she felt a calling to serve and take care of people during their time of loss and grief. From making coffee to embalming, Elaine is here to serve you and your family.
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.