The funeral home now know as Gorder-Jensen Funeral Home got its start in Choteau when Charles Roberts owned and operated the Roberts Funeral Home from 1929 until 1939 out of a location in Choteau which is now the John Henry’s Restaurant on Main Ave. After Mr. Roberts death in 1939 the funeral business was sold to G.L. “Larry” Banks, who operated the funeral home in it’s present location until 1958, at which time he constructed a new funeral home.
The present day funeral home was constructed in 1958, being completed and open for business in September of that year. J. Larry Banks was the owner and funeral director of Banks Funeral Home and operated this business until his death in 1979 as a result of a car accident.
The funeral home was unique in that it offered a simplistic design that afforded family privacy by offering separate family entrances off of a drive-through garage.
The main floor consists of a chapel that will seat 96 persons, a family room that will seat 30 persons and an arrangement office. On the lower level there is a casket display room and a grave marker display section. There is also private office space for any staffing needs.
After Mr. Banks died, on August 21, 1979, the funeral home was purchased and operated by Homer Gorder, at which time the name was changed from Banks Funeral Home to Gorder Funeral Home.
In 1992, the funeral home was sold to the Loewen Group, Inc. based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. It was decided to leave the name of the facility the same. The firm had several funeral directors on staff throughout the early 1992 until 1996, when John Jensen, from Casper, Wyoming, was employed to operate the funeral home.
John has been in the funeral business for 30 years, having moved to Choteau in July of 1996 from Casper. Over the last several years the funeral home has been owned by the Alderwoods Corporation and then Service Corporation International, based in Houston, TX.
In July of 2010, the funeral home reverted to local ownership again with the sale to John and Ruth Jensen, who have operated the funeral home since 1996. John and Ruth, occupy the residence next to the funeral home. Both John and his wife are very active in various community civic organizations and community activities. Ruth, in addition to her duties at the funeral home, operates her own antique store in Choteau called the Three Old Bags Antiques and Collectables. They have two children, Jessica Johnson, husband Steven, and family living in Fairfled, MT and Nicole Coleman, husband David, and family living in Casper, WY.
During the last several years some interior remodeling has been done to the funeral home. The interior of the casket selection room was completely re-done which included wall covering, paint and a completely new lighting system. The chapel had chandeliers installed to brighten it up also. A sound system was installed to complement the current organ and allows families to provide either cassette tapes or CDs of their favorite music and a video tribute system has recently been installed to allow the production and playing DVD video tributes.