"Dedicated to an understanding and sympathetic service- performed with true dignity and reverence - marked by its simplicity and beauty - honoring the departed - comforting those who remain."
- From the announcement of the opening of the new Charles H. Mueller Funeral Chapel, 1935
In 1905, Charles H. Mueller began offering his services as an undertaker in the Dale Street/University Avenue area of St. Paul, Minnesota. Operating at various times under names such as the Mueller Undertaking Parlors and the Charles H. Mueller Mortuary, his firm conducted business during the next thirty years out of several different locations in that area, known as the "Frogtown" neighborhood. In those days, most funerals were held at churches and visiting hours were often at the family's home; there wasn't a strong need for a permanent facility to host these events, and a mortician could operate out of storefront offices as a contractor. Charlie's stepson, Albert N. Bies, joined him in the trade in 1933.
Charles Mueller business card, c.1920
Shortly thereafter, in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, they settled into their first permanent location at 575 West University Avenue, just east of Dale Street. At that point doing business as the Charles H. Mueller Funeral Chapel, in the subsequent years the firm became known as Mueller-Bies Funeral Home. Eventually, Charlie retired, and Al assumed full ownership and operation of the company.
Grand Opening Announcement, 1935
East Chapel, 1955 - 1995
In those years, there were several mortuaries operating in the neighborhood, each serving a different nationality, religious background, or both; Mueller-Bies primarily catered to the German Lutherans of the area. In 1955, celebrating its fiftieth year of operation, Mueller-Bies moved into a new, larger, custom-built location at 650 North Dale Street, on the corner of Dale and Blair - about a half-mile north of its previous home. In the 1960's, Al's oldest son, Albert W., joined his father in the business, stretching the family tradition of funeral directing to a third generation. Al's daughters Joanne and Barb also joined the firm in secretarial capacities.
As years passed, the old ethnic and religous barriers began to break down, and many of the mortuaries in the area began to close or consolidate; Mueller-Bies, however, continued to grow and serve an increasing portion of the families of the area, from all backgrounds. In 1970, Mueller-Bies acquired a funeral home that was closing down across Dale Street from its existing location, at 625 North Dale, and the two locations on either side of Dale were operated as the Mueller-Bies East and West Chapels. This was done in large part in anticipation of the City of St. Paul's announced plans to widen Dale Street, as part of which the city proposed taking ownership of and demolishing the existing Mueller-Bies building on the east side of Dale - built less than 20 years prior.
Roseville (a.k.a North) Chapel
1985 - Present
By the early 1980s, Al Sr.'s younger son, Greg, had joined his father and brother in the business; Greg's wife, Laurie, had begun working there years earlier as a secretary and bookkeeper. St. Paul's project to widen Dale Street had still not been initiated, and Mueller-Bies had been maintaining two properties across the street from one another for well over a decade. It was decided to sell one of the properties and relocate that office to the nearby St. Paul suburb of Roseville. The West Chapel was sold and converted to a Masonic Lodge, and in 1985, Mueller-Bies opened a new facility at the corner of Dale Street and County Road B in Roseville, just three miles north of the East Chapel. It became known as the North Chapel. Soon thereafter, Jim Nielsen became the first grandson of Albert N. (and step-great-grandson of Charlie Mueller) to join the firm.
Albert N. Bies passed away in 1990, and his sons, Albert W. and Greg, became the owners and operators of the Funeral Home. The firm continued to operate the East Chapel in St. Paul and the North Chapel in Roseville until 1995, when St. Paul's Dale Street widening project finally commenced. The city took control of the East Chapel, and the building was demolished after 40 years of operation. Mueller-Bies continued operations solely out of the North Chapel for a few years, until the fall of 2001, when the company expanded into the Lino Lakes area, building a new facility at 7050 Lake Drive. The North Chapel was then renamed the Roseville Chapel.
Following the death of Greg Bies in 1996 and the subsequent retirement of Albert W., Greg's two sons, Rick and Gary Bies, joined their cousin Jim Nielsen as funeral directors and operators of the firm. The three continue to be a part of the company today, as does Greg's wife, Laurie Bies, who serves as the business manager.
Lino Lakes Chapel, 2001- Present
The world has seen immense change since Charlie Mueller first began offering his services in Frogtown at the turn of the twentieth century, and what people have come to desire and expect from funeral service has changed immensely as well. We still operate by the same principles described in Charlie's announcement of the opening of the new parlor in 1935, though, and we strongly believe that is why we are still here - the same family offering the same service four generations later. Even in a fast-paced, do-it-yourself, discount era, there is a place for old-fashioned personal, thorough, understanding, and caring service, and it's what we strive to provide to each and every family we serve - generation after generation. We are proud to say Mueller-Bies has been continually owned and operated by the family of its founder since its inception; one family, over one hundred and ten years.