In 1912, a young Danish immigrant named Frederik A. Veile was working in the world’s largest lumber mill in Potlach, Idaho. The company he was working for decided to send him to Worland, Wyoming to work and manage a new lumber company, Cardell Ridge Lumber Company.
Fred moved to Worland in 1913 and was able to bring his soon-to-be new wife from Denmark to Worland in 1914. The couple married in Worland and felt that the new town was the place to stay and start their family.
The community suited him very well and he wanted to be his own boss, and to own his own business. Such an opportunity became a reality when he found that he could buy an existing business in Worland. That business was called the Worland Furniture Company and was in the 600 block of Big Horn Avenue (Main Street). It was owned by Laura I. Bragg and Lee F. Doherty. Mr. Doherty was the local undertaker as well, and the sale of the furniture store included the funeral business.
Fred Veile and his wife, Helga Iisager Veile, became the new owners of the Worland Furniture Co. in a buyout that started in 1921 and was totally completed the next year. In 1926 they moved the business to 716 Big Horn Avenue. It was the only double story building on the south side of the street in the 700 block at that time. The upstairs portion of the building at one time housed the Worland Hospital (until 1939), doctors and dentist offices, and general offices.
Fred was the president and salesman of the company, and Helga was the secretary and bookkeeper. Helga had a good mind for the real business end of the operation and was also involved in the running of the furniture and accessories side of the business. Fred then set out to become an embalmer by taking a correspondence course from a mortuary school in Des Moines, Iowa.
As part of his mortuary training, he needed to go to Denver, Colorado for his hands-on, practical training in embalming. He did that a week at a time, every six months. He finished the requirements in 1926 and was granted a diploma in embalming. He continued to work in the furniture store and ran the funeral home at the same time. He was granted a Wyoming license in 1933 when Wyoming started licensing funeral homes and embalmers.
The Veile’s son, Arnold B. Veile, had grown up helping his parents at the Worland Furniture Co. Like most young men of the time he was anxious to get out on his own. He first attended the University of Wyoming for a year following his high school graduation, then decided to become a mortician like his father. Arnold next attended mortuary college in Chicago, Illinois for one year to become a licensed mortician in Wyoming, returning to Worland in 1936 to be a state licensed partner in the family business.
While his parents were on a trip to Denmark in the early summer of 1938 (pre-World War II) a young lady from Sioux City, Iowa was involved in a serious automobile accident east of Worland near Slick Creek. She was not injured too badly and needed a place to stay while her traveling companions were recuperating in the local hospital. Arnold and his twin sisters offered up their parent’s room at the Veile home as a solution to the problem.
That started a romance between Arnold and Elizabeth V. Morgan. After she returned home to Iowa they corresponded, and Arnold went to Iowa in October 1938 to marry Elizabeth. The couple then made Worland their home for the rest of their lives, raising and schooling their two children, Patricia and David, in Worland.
Elizabeth became involved with the business as a part time salesclerk and florist. The furniture company had grown to include a flower shop, a Firestone Store, and the funeral home all at the downtown location.
In 1953 the Veile’s decided to move the funeral home out of the basement of the furniture store to a large home located at 8th Street and Culbertson Avenue. They remodeled the building, added an addition to the front of the funeral home to become the funeral chapel, and at that time they renamed the business the Veile Mortuary.
The funeral operation had also operated the community ambulance since the 1930’s, using the hearse as a part-time transfer ambulance. Upon moving to the new location, they housed the ambulance at the funeral home.
In 1960, Arnold was severely burned while at the local landfill with a load of trash. He spent the next three months having surgeries in a Denver hospital, and then the next year receiving physical therapy several days a week at the Gottsche Foundation in Thermopolis. The Veile family then sold the downtown Worland Furniture/Firestone and floral shop businesses at that point in time.
David Veile was a junior in high school when his father was burned. He had been helping at the family business after school and on weekends. He was now thrust into a more active role.
David would now be driving the ambulance to out of town locations, making removals for the funeral home, and helping his Grandfather Fred around the funeral home. A man named Swede Oscarson had helped the funeral home for years with embalming, and had even built their embalming machines, became more prominent in the business. Swede also was the fire chief of the local volunteer fire department. (Note: Arnold was a volunteer fireman for thirty-six years).
David attended Northwest Community College for two years, and the University of Wyoming for three years to become an industrial arts teacher. He then taught high school woodshop in Lander for two years.
By 1968 Arnold’s health had failed enough as a result of the 1960 burns that he asked David to go to mortuary school to get licensed to take over the business, if needed, to help his mother.
David and his wife, Diana Sutherland Veile, and their daughter Brooke moved to Dallas, Texas in August 1968 for him to attend the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science for one year. He graduated in in August 1969, passed the National Board examination with flying colors, and returned to Worland to work in the Veile Mortuary. In January 1970 he passed the Wyoming State Board of Embalmers examination and was then licensed in Wyoming.
Arnold’s health had failed enough that from that point on, David did all the embalming and Arnold and David were both the funeral directors. In 1974 Diana started to work the funeral services in place of Arnold. Elizabeth still answered the telephones at her home when everyone else was out of the reach.
David, Diana, and their children now including twins Jennifer and Jarrod, lived in the apartment above the funeral home from 1969 to 1973, so Diana became more involved in the daily business. In 1973 they moved to their home near Sanders Park. Diana was assisting in the funeral home by answering the telephone, making out of town trips, providing hairdressing services, and working funeral services by registering people and setting up floral arrangements, and doing some of the hospital/nursing home removals.
The Veile’s made the decision to get out to the ambulance business in 1975, even though David was one of the first EMT’s in the county. The fire department then took over all the ambulance calls for about one year before the county finally stepped up and ran all the ambulance operations.
David’s professional life included two terms as the president of the Wyoming Funeral Directors Association; fifteen years on the State Board of Embalmers of which he was the Exec. Officer for eleven years; nine years on the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards – one year as national president and five years as the national examination chairman; two years as the chairman of the American Board of Funeral Service Education; fifteen years as the Washakie County Coroner; and 20 years as a volunteer fireman.
Arnold passed away in 1979, and Elizabeth died in 1980.