Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Longevity, Civility and Perseverance-JR Mooney Galleries & The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home

April 2013 edition of The Explore -Kendall County's Most Popular Magazine.

**On Page 37-38 is an article that showcases two important business in Boerne and their unique historical contributions to Texas!!

See the Magazine and the article at:

Longevity, Civility and Perseverance

How two businesses achieved historical recognition-
Texas Treasure Business Award”

-Gabriel Diego Delgado

--Boerne, Texas,  a city unique as its name, lays claim to two businesses out of only 41 in the state of Texas who have been awarded the coveted and prestigious Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure Business Award.  J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art and The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home now belong to a select group of businesses and entities that have met the rigorous requirements of receiving such a prominent award.

Each with its own exceptional history, family contributions, civil leadership, pioneering innovations and exceptional business practices, J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art and The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home strive to continue serving a revered legacy set forth by past family generations; akin to their respectively honored business leaders that sacrificed, challenged and succeeded in all economic climates of Texas over the last 60+ years.

JR Mooney Gallery Interior 

Original JR Mooney Signage and exterior facade

“Only less than 2% of all businesses ever receive this recognition”, said Senator Jeff Wentworth, while presenting the certificate to Robert Mooney, President of J.R. Mooney Galleries, on December 15, 2012 at the San Antonio gallery location. Wentworth personally presented the Texas Treasure Business certificates to several business leaders that comprised this year’s inductees.

 The historical necessities for qualification are summarized by the Texas Historical Commission as, “The Texas Treasure Business Award Program recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years….Created in 2005 by Senate Bill 920, authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio and sponsored by Rep. Charles "Doc” Anderson of Waco, the program pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions toward the state’s economic growth and prosperity.”

Bob Mooney on the Senate Floor in Austin, Texas

 April Garner, State Coordinator at the Texas Heritage Tourism Program/ Community Heritage Development Division of the Texas Historical Commission reveals what some businesses will never achieve but these two organizations have –“a continuious for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years, they need to continue to operate the same or a very similar type of business as it did at least 50 years ago, have a continuous record of employment for at least the past 50 years, continue to operate as an independent, for-profit business, and maintain a good business relationship with the state.”

 Adding, “Businesses that also have established that they have been continuously owned by the same family or have operated continuously from a building that is at least 50 years old and have maintained its architectural integrity will receive additional recognition”

 “Receiving a phone call from the offices of Senator Jeff Wentworth, was an exhilarating experience, Mom and Dad would have been proud”, says Robert Mooney.  Started by Joe and Adelle Mooney in 1947, J.R. Mooney Galleries can lay claim as the oldest Fine Art Gallery in Texas. With over 65 years of business, J.R. Mooney Galleries has operated three galleries, experiencing seven moves and relocations, while employing only a handful of dedicated staff-including three that have collectively been with the company over 110 years.

 Jo Lynn Fisher of The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home emphasizes their rich and abundant business history as well- “The Ebensberger Funeral Home in Boerne was started in 1882 and it is Boerne's oldest continuously run business”, she says.  “The Ebensberger family started their business when there were no government programs to assist them, no paved streets or street lamps, and no infrastructure…They are extremely proud of their heritage and the part they have played in servicing those in need in Kendall County and the surrounding areas.” “They are in their 130th year in business as of May 20, 2013”, she says gleaming with admiration for such rich contributions to the founding fathers of Boerne, Texas.

Historical decal

 On January 23, 2013, representatives from 6 other Texas businesses, including J.R. Mooney Galleries and The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home were recognized at the State Capital in Austin, Texas; receiving proclamations on both the House of Representatives and the Senate floors.

 “Being recognized by the state of Texas at the State Capital is a wonderful thing”, says Robert Mooney. “So many of our clients have been civic and state dignitaries”, he adds.  Reminiscing, he nostalgically recalls, “In 1975 the main gallery moved from Blanco Rd. to 8302 Broadway St. The first main event for the new location was a one-man exhibition for Jose Vives-Atsara, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the San Antonio Symphony. The opening was at the La Mansion del Norte (now the Doubletree Hotel).  This included a sit-down dinner for 300, and was attended by many major collectors and city dignitaries, including the then Mayor of San Antonio, Lila Cockrell…Approximately $20,000 was raised for the San Antonio Symphony.”

Jo Lynn Fisher recounts the great municipal contributions George C. Ebensberger, 3rd generation owner and civic leader, had as he wore many hats during his ownership of Ebensberger Funeral Home. “He was a Boerne City Councilman, a Rotarian, and President of the Kendall County Fair Association…He was also a member of the Lions Club, the Boerne Chamber of Commerce, and the 32nd Degree Masons. George was a founding member of the 49ers Club. This group was formed in 1949 and consisted of 49 members. They orchestrated Boerne’s Centennial Celebration for the town.”

The Explore Magazine article, April 2013 edition

These tales of achievement are mirrored in the sincere words of Texas Historical Commision Chairman, Matt Kreisle, “It is a privilege for us to recognize our long-established businesses that have remained committed to Texans for generations, while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth…May this recognition serve to increase success and productivity for many years to come.”

 While on the Senate floor Sen. Leticia Van de Putte added her own heartfelt praise to Mr. Robert Mooney and others like Rosemary Kolwaski of RK Group who were in attendance-“The businesses recognized here today exemplify the reason a company remains successful year after year…Hard work, quality service, and resourcefulness go a long way in the Lone Star State and we’re pleased to recognize those traits.”

Evolving through inevitable growing pains, all businesses rise and fall to the occasion; making decisions that shape their business culture for future generations and clients alike. J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art and The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home were no exceptions.

Robert Mooney shares one story of how the ever changing Texas economic climate made the gallery redirect, refocus and reevaluate their model.  “In 1980 a third gallery was opened. {after the opening of North Star Mall Gallery in 1973.} This new showcase galley added a new client base, including Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Gov. Ann Richards, just to name a few”,  he says.  “All three galleries grew and developed over the following 18 years”, he comments, pausing the collect his thoughts. “1998 Mr. Joe Mooney and Mrs. Adelle Mooney retired leaving me to operate all three locations. The economy and other considerations led to the decision to consolidate the operations back to one location on Broadway; closing both the North Star Mall and Austin locations in the summer of 1998.”

Adelle Mooney 

Joe Mooney

Stories of handing over the business reins could be felt at the funeral home as well, seen in the historical lineage of how the Fisher Family joined ranks with the Ebensbergers. “George ‘Sonny’ Ebensberger, 4th generation owner, joined his dad in the business in 1977. His wife Yvonne and he took over the funeral home business in 2000. Sonny and Yvonne were looking to retire and knew the timing was right when they met the Fisher family around early 2008. Even though they are enjoying retirement, they remained partial owners of the business and stepped into help as needed. Sonny and Yvonne knew Dustin “Dusty” and me to view the business as a ministry and that we strived to treat each family they served with integrity and compassion just as the Ebensbergers have for the last 130 years”, says Jo Lynn Fisher.  “In December of 2008, the funeral home became Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home when Dusty Fisher took over the day to day operation of the funeral home which allowed Sonny and Yvonne to partially retire. Myself and our two children joined him in Boerne in February of 2009. Under my direction, major renovations to the funeral home were completed in 2009 while staying true to the original structure and maintaining its architectural integrity”, she says boastfully.

 Her proudest feat was being able to restore the original long leaf heart pine floors which are now only available through reclaiming.

 However, in 2001 Mr. Joe Mooney of J.R. Mooney Galleries passed away, and 18 months later in 2003 his wife and lifetime partner, Mrs. Adelle Mooney followed.  They left behind a Fine Art gallery legacy that would set the ultimate standard for high end retail gallery business models.

Mr. Bob Mooney and Sen Jeff Wentworth

 True to form, Jo Lynn Fisher says the last 100 years of civic duty is their guiding model. The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home is holding its 4th annual Christmas Remembrance Service this December. “It is designed to offer comfort, fellowship, and suggestions on how cope during the holidays..glass angel ornaments with loved one’s names are presented to the families that the funeral home has served while other families have the opportunity to purchase the ornaments as well…The funeral home is currently providing the funds needed for the local VFW Post to rent space for their meetings until they can construct a new building…Giving back to the community will continue to be a priority for the funeral home and its owners”, concluding with great admiration and reflecting on where the funeral home has been and where it is going.

 A special decal identifying the businesses as Texas Treasures will be publicly displayed at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art Boerne and San Antonio and The Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home.   “Consumers will know that when they spot the familiar Texas Treasure Business icon, they are doing business with a well-established, Texas-owned-and-operated business that has long contributed to job growth, stimulated the local economy, and generated state and local revenues”, concludes the Texas Historical Commission employee, April Garner.

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