Mehl's Colonial Chapel roots have long been in Watsonville. The
matriarch of the Mehl family, Anita LaPorte, was born near the
Pajaro Dunes in 1898. She met Carl Mehl in San Francisco when
horses were pulling hearses.
The couple bought a funeral home in Auburn California in the early
1920's and had two children, Jim and June.
In 1929, Carl and Anita Mehl bought the building that is now Mehl's
Colonial Chapel from Burland Brothers, a building that had once
been a private residence. Many additions have been added to make it
the structure that now graces East Lake Avenue. But running a
funeral home apparently didn't keep Carl Mehl busy enough. He used
to have the ambulance service from the late '30s to the early '50s,
before there were any private ambulance companies.
His son, Jim, became a partner in 1948 and took over the business
when Carl died in 1977. Jim continued to run the business until his
death in 1985. After he passed away, his children, Claudia, Ed, and
Dianne, had to decide whether to sell or take over. They elected to
run the family business, with Claudia as acting funeral director
still to this day.