Abbott & Hast Company was founded in 1957, shortly after Allan Abbott and Ron Hast graduated high school. Initial services of flower transportation from mortuary to cemetery were offered. These services were soon expanded to include hearse, limousine livery, local and long-distant decedent transportation and other special services to funeral directors. The company grew to become the largest funeral support company in the western United States, employing over 50, and operating in excess of 50 funeral-related vehicles.
From 1957 until 1985, Abbott & Hast Company provided funeral cars and man power for nearly every funeral home in Southern California. Our fleet of 35 cars included hearses, limousines, flower trucks, long-distance and local first-call vehicles. We also provided funeral cars and props to all the motion picture production companies. Our cars and equipment have appeared in over 300 movies, television shows and commercials.
Because we purchased new vehicles every year, we always had the latest models of cars. When a local funeral home was chosen to direct the services of famous people we would usually provide the cars and drivers. Some of the most prominent people whose services Abbott & Hast participated in included Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Clark Gable, Jack Benny, Gary Cooper, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Warner, Mario Lanza, David O. Selznick, Karen Carpenter and Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker. (A closer look at Marilyn Monroe's funeral is featured on another page.)
In 1960, the partners created and marketed the Casket Airtray, a unit which encases and secures deceased persons when transported by airliners. The initial design has remained unchanged for over 35 years, and the concept continues to be utilized throughout the world. In that same year, the company also introduced formally converted station wagons called “conversions” to appear as a junior hearse, primarily utilized by funeral directors as utility vehicles.
The year of 1973 marked expansion to include the acquisition of funeral homes in the greater Los Angeles area. In response to many notable changes in funeral customs, a special emphasis on alternative choices for bereaved families was initiated.
In 1975, the partners acquired Berg Publications, Inc., a company founded in 1914 to publish Mortuary Management magazine, offered monthly by subscription to funeral home owners, staff members, service and supply industries and mortuary students. The name of the company was eventually changed to Abbott & Hast Publications, Inc. As one of only two independent national monthly funeral magazines, it continues to provide funeral directors with the information needed to cope with the ever-changing business climate we face today. Abbott & Hast then founded and added Funeral Monitor, a weekly professional publication. Funeral Monitor provides the funeral professional with timely information in a newsletter format.
With offices in West Bloomfield, Michigan; Tiburon, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Abbott & Hast Publications is uniquely qualified to bring pertinent information to its readers.
Abbott & Hast Publications also conducts high-quality educational business seminars where funeral professionals gather the needed skills to stay in touch with the ever-changing death care industry.