John J. Radel entered funeral service in 1878 after helping a neighbor with the burial of an infant. He opened his first office with a small frame structure at 652 State Avenue in Lower Price Hill, replacing it with a new, larger building by 1903. On December 23, 1902, he incorporated the John J. Radel Company with Joseph Metzner, John A. Radel, John Ruehlmann and August G. Mueller.
One of the many services John Radel offered to the public was membership in a burial association. Beginning in 1898, the weekly payment plan was to provide complete burial expenses for poor people. After Ohio legislation blocked this plan in the early 1900s, John Radel turned these "insurance policies" over to the Western and Southern Life Insurance Co.
A similar association in Kentucky was the Newport Benevolent Burial Association, founded by John J. Radel and other Northern Kentucky businessmen. By 1968 when the Newport association was sold to Commonwealth Life Insurance Co., it had a membership of more than 40,000 people in Campbell and Kenton counties.
John J. Radel purchased automotive equipment in 1912 to replace his horses and carriages, receiving national publicity as one of the first automobile-serviced funeral homes in the country.
Shortly after the introduction of the auto, Radel invested a large amount of money to begin Cincinnati's bus service, running from Fountain Square to Price Hill. One-way fare for the five-mile trip was five cents. The buses rode on solid rubber tires, giving assengers a rough ride, and eventually Radel's bus service ended.
In 1917, at the age of 57, John J. Radel died, a victim of the flu epidemic. His son, Henry J., immediately took charge of the Company. Henry was already used to hard work and long hours, looking after the horses and buggies that a number of doctors kept at he Radel stables. Now in charge of the Company, he looked toward expansion.
A new funeral home was built in Newport, Kentucky at 822 York Street, in 1927, replacing a home on Patterson Street built in 1907. Another funeral home was built in Covington at 1005 Madison Avenue in 1938.
Henry Radel bought a mansion at 4122 Glenway Avenue, Price Hill in 1933 and converted it to a funeral home. For a time, this home was also the residence of Henry, his wife Josephine, and their two sons, Henry, Jr. and Fares.
The Price Hill funeral home contains many antiques acquired by Henry Radel, mostly from area estates. The other funeral homes also have antique furnishings.
Another funeral home was bought in 1915 and operated downtown at 1804 Vine Street for six years. Now at this location is the House of God Chapel.
Another funeral home was constructed at 2562 North Bend Road at Colerain in 1962, and was sold in 1970 to the Retail Clerk Local 1099.
In 1973 Henry Radel arranged the purchase of a lot at Alexandria and High Streets and Highland Heights, Kentucky, however, he died in August 1973 at age 80 prior to accomplishing this goal. He was perhaps the oldest active funeral director in Ohio at this time. The Company has been headed since then by his two sons, Henry, Jr. and Fares J. Radel.
Henry and Fares Radel continued the trend toward expansion after their father's death with the addition of the Denman-Radel Funeral Home at 6943 Montgomery Road, Silverton, which operated from 1979 to 1988. At that time, it was sold in conjunction with the grand opening of the newest funeral home and new Main Office at 650 Neeb Road in Delhi. In December, 1989 the branch at 1005 Madison Avenue in Covington, Kentucky was sold in preparation for the construction of the new funeral home on the lot in Highland Heights, Kentucky. This construction was completed in December, 1990.
Henry and Fares split the company in 1994 with Henry taking management of the two homes in Ohio and Fares taking management of the two homes in Kentucky.
After the split of the John J. Radel Company, Fares J. Radel began construction on a new concept in the funeral industry. A state of the art Funeral Home and Crematory "In Honor of Our Life and Spirit". The new $2 million facility is located at 5950 Kellogg venue, Cincinnati, Ohio and will raise the bar for the funeral industry, providing upscale memorial services citywide.
In November 2004, in order to better serve families in the Northern Kentucky area, a new facility was constructed in Cold Spring, KY to replace the former home in Highland Heights.
Fares J. Radel is President and CEO of Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes, Inc. Mickey Radel serves as Executive Vice President and Secretary.