Our History

Our long and notable history starts in 1913 with Lee Hamilton – a man with an undeniable desire to serve people. Recognized as both generous and open-hearted, Lee assisted the people of Des Moines as a dedicated funeral director and friend for more than 50 years. People knew Lee Hamilton, but more importantly, they knew that Lee Hamilton would take care of their family with dignity, concern and reverence.

Our Funeral Home was established prior to 1900 under the name of R.R. McBride Funeral Home located at East 6th and Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1910 the funeral home was moved to 605 E. Locust where Mr. Selover, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Knight worked together for a time. In 1913, Lee Hamilton became the principle owner of the company. In 1925, Hamilton partnered with Powers for a time, relocating to 520 East 9th Street. Lee Hamilton soon became the sole owner once again and changed the name officially to Hamilton’s Funeral Home. In 1940, as the numbers of families assisted by Hamilton’s Funeral Home increased to more than 500, Lee Hamilton asked his son-in-law, Ira Moller, and valued employee, Ardis Peterson, to join him as partners of the business. Lee Hamilton died in 1956. Over the years, Ira and Ardis carried on the values and attitudes instilled in them by Lee and passed them on to their sons and grandchildren. Mr. Hamilton’s descendants from the Ira Moller family continued in ownership through the 3rd and 4th generations, along with the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Ardis Peterson family. Today, Hamilton’s is owned by the Peterson family: Ardis’ son, Carlton Peterson, and his granddaughters, Holly Peterson Miller and Sasha Mudlaff.

In 1969 Hamilton’s moved to our present location at 605 Lyon Street in Des Moines. In 1976, we purchased the Moffitt Funeral Homes in Altoona and Mitchellville, Iowa, now known as Hamilton’s Altoona Funeral Home and Hamilton’s Mitchellville Funeral Home. In 1979, we purchased the Dunn’s Funeral home on Southwest 9th Street in Des Moines, now known as Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home. In 1987, Hamilton’s built a funeral home and crematory located across the street from Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery in Des Moines, aptly named Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens. In 1989, Hamilton's Mitchellville Funeral Home was relocated to its present locale on Center Street. The latest addition to the Hamilton family opened in 2005, Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway in West Des Moines. To complete the current timeline, most recently in 2012, Hamilton's Altoona Funeral Home was completely remodeled to better serve our families in the greater Altoona area. The Hamilton’s facilities in total are known as Hamilton’s Funeral and After Life Services, while each funeral home retains its individual name

Hamilton’s Funeral Home has always stood for a standard of excellence that has challenged the business to become one of the larger family-owned funeral homes not only in Des Moines, but also in the state of Iowa. This standard of excellence still proudly carries Lee Hamilton’s name and the mission to serve client families and one another, adapting to the desires of each person seeking help.

For a thorough, historical timeline of Des Moines' funeral homes since 1850: A Legacy of Excellence