Our Story

The Licking county roots of Henderson-Van Atta Stickle Funeral & Cremation Service go back a long way. Our families have been proud and active members of the community since before the Civil War, and our professional heritage dates to the very early years of the 20th century. Whether you are old friends or new to the community, we invite you to read about our history, explore our website and (most of all!) come in to meet us. . .



Jack W. Stickle II purchased the funeral home from the Van Atta family in 2008. A graduate of Licking Valley High School (2000), The Ohio State University (2005), and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (2006), Jack’s passion for service to the community dates to his boyhood. As a young Eagle Scout, he worked to clean up and restore Newark’s historic Mt. Calvary Cemetery which had suffered many years of neglect. These days, Jack is active in his church and in many local civic organizations. Most of all, he is proud to carry on family and professional traditions which go back many decades.

Jack’s family has deep roots in Licking county. His 4th great grandparents, Thompson and Martha (Chapin) Stickle, purchased a 100-acre farm in Eden township in 1853. There they raised 10 children, and the Stickle family has called Licking county “home” ever since. From the 1950s through the 1970s Jack’s paternal grandfather, Jack W. Stickle, was admired by families throughout the area for his work as an officer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Jack’s maternal grandfather, Donald D. Hill, served as a Licking County Commissioner from 1969 through 1996, and earned lasting respect and affection from residents across the county.

In addition to his strong family ties to the community Jack is also proud to carry on the professional legacy of generations of funeral directors who have served area families during their times of need since the early 20th century.

In 1922, Ernest A. Gutliph moved to Newark from Logan, Ohio, bringing with him fifteen years’ experience as a funeral director. Mr. Gutliph purchased the Bradley Funeral Home, one of Newark’s oldest “undertaking establishments.” In 1927 a handsome young US Navy veteran named Ross Henderson joined the firm, and the business was rechristened as the Gutliph and Henderson Funeral Home two years later. For many years, the funeral home operated out of a stately old mansion located at the northwest corner of Church and 5th Streets in downtown Newark. By 1940 the business had outgrown its location and the decision was made to relocate to a fully remodeled state of the art facility “just around the corner” at 59 North 5th Street where we remain to the present day.

After Mr. Gutliph died in 1944, the funeral home continued to meet the needs of area families under the capable guidance of Ross Henderson, assisted by Ronald G. Van Atta and Charles Johnston who both joined the firm in 1951. The post-World War II years were a time of prosperity and growth in Licking county; local industries provided good employment to thousands of men, and Newark spilled beyond its old boundaries, giving birth to a “daughter city" named Heath, just to the south. The funeral home also made important changes during this period, expanding its North 5th Street facility several times, and officially passing of the torch to the next generation in 1957 when the business was reincorporated as the Ross Henderson Funeral Home.

In 1990 the funeral home responded to significant growth in Heath with the opening of a Heath Chapel at 1249 Hebron Road, and in 2004 the decision was made to recognize the changing preferences of local families by establishing Licking County’s first locally owned crematory.

As time passed names and faces inevitably changed. Charlie Johnston retired from the funeral home and Ron Van Atta began to look for a successor who would maintain his commitment to service and quality. By the time Jack purchased the business in 2008 Ron was confident he had found a successor who would preserve that tradition while responding to the changing dynamics of our local community.

Today Jack is assisted by his sister Kate Stickle Maher, an experienced funeral director, and a dedicated support staff which includes several family members. Together, we are here to answer your questions and provide the utmost in compassionate care to you and your family.

Henderson - Van Atta - Stickle Funeral & Cremation Service
Newark Chapel: 59 North Fifth Street - Newark, Ohio | (740) 345-9864
Heath Chapel: 1249 Hebron Road - Heath, Ohio | (740) 522-1010

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