History of St. Louis Wilbert

John C. Koch began the St. Louis Wilbert Vault Co. on May 13, 1934 and ran the company until his death in April of 1953. In April 1953, Mr. Koch's wife Barbara and their son John took charge of the business. On January 31, 1957, Mrs. Koch sold the stock to American Wilbert Vault Corporation of Forest Park, Illinois.

Richard “Dick” Reichle, a well-established and integral part of the Wilbert family, became a sales representative for American Wilbert in Chicago, Illinois in 1945. He became President of Americal Wilbert upon the retirement of Wilbert Haas in July 1946. Mr. Reichle purchased St. Louis Wilbert from Mrs. Koch in January 1957. At this time the business was operated by Earl and Grace Stensto who both worked for Mr. Reichle at American Wilbert in Chicago, Illinois. They moved to St. Louis to run both St. Louis Wilbert Vault and New Baden Wilbert Vault. Earl Stensto died on July 4, 1971 of a fatal heart attack . Mrs. Grace Stensto continued to run both companies.

Mr. Reichle’s son, Richard Reichle, Jr. moved to St. Louis in 1972 and assisted Grace Stensto. She semi-retired in 1984, and Richard Reichle assumed the role of President of St. Louis Wilbert Vault Co. and New Baden Wilbert Vault. Mrs. Stensto officially retired in 1987.

Steven M. Bush began his relationship with the funeral industry as a gravedigger in a local Quincy, Illinois cemetery. He became interested in the vault business and in 1981 Steve Bush purchased the Western Illinois territory and established Quincy Wilbert Vault as a Wilbert licensee. Mr. Bush started the Quincy, Illinois franchise with one truck and four vault forms. In 1984 he built the current Wilbert plant in Quincy and added a crematory in 1993.

In 1995, as Richard Reichle, Jr. was looking toward retirement, he offered Mr. Bush a position as the general manager. Steve accepted on the condition that he would purchase the St. Louis, Missouri and New Baden, Illinois licensees when Mr. Reichle retired. In Feburary 1999, after three and one-half years as general manager, Steve became the owner of St. Louis Wilbert Vault and New Baden Wilbert Vault.

In 2005, the New Baden, Illinois plant was consolidated with St. Louis Wilbert Vault Co. The plant location in St. Louis is a 35,000 square foot plant and office with a fleet of 20 trucks. Mr. Bush was a District Director and Board Member of the Wilbert Manufacturer’s Association from 1996 to 2002. He served as President of the Wilbert Manufacturer’s Association from 1999 – 2000. He was elected to the Wilbert, Inc. Board of Directors in 2007. In 2008 Wilbert, Inc. split into two companies, the plastics company and the funeral services company (Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc.). Steve was elected to the Board of Directors of Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. in 2008 and served as a Board Member until 2011.

Contact us to learn more about Wilbert funeral services or to request a schedule of the upcoming continuing education classes for funeral professionals.

Areas Served

St. Louis Wilbert offers burial vaults and cremation products to the following counties:

Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Warren, and Washington.

Illinois: Bond, Calhoun, Clay, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Wayne.

Contact Us
    st louis wilbert burial vault illinois


Set Up

Wilbert offers two types of burial set ups, Wilbert Way (WW) and Ovation. The difference in the two set ups is in the placement of the vault and the vault cover during the funeral service. With the Ovation set up, the vault cover is displayed in front of the family. The Ovation display is available for personalized vaults.

Grass & Tents, Grass, and Chairs

One 15x15 tent plus an awning, grass, and chairs are set by St. Louis Wilbert at the gravesite for funeral services. The tent covers the burial area and provides a comfortable place for families to gather during the funeral. Several pieces of grass and up to ten folding chairs will typically cover a gravesite area and will be neatly arranged under the tents. Wilbert Burial Vault manages the delivery, setup, and removal of the tent, grass, and chairs.


Nameplates give burial vaults a personalized touch and are availble for all vaults except the concrete box. The nameplate includes the name of the deceased and the birth and death years.

Vault Transfer

Vault Transfer is a service available between Wilbert licensees and dealers. Wilbert Burial Vault uses the vault transfer service when a burial request has been made outside of the licensee territory. The location of the cemetery is needed to determine the appropriate Wilbert licensee or dealer. Since the services offered by each Wilbert licensee vary, the licensees work together on a per burial basis to determine the services, such as tents, grass, chairs, and grave digging, that each licensee will provide for the burial.

First Responders

When a hero falls, Wilbert is there.

Our “Commemorating First Responders” program provides families of firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel who have died in the line of duty with a tribute worthy of their valor and sacrifice.

At no charge to the family, Wilbert and our licensees donate a customized Wilbert Stainless Steel Triune® burial vault. If the choice is cremation, we offer a selection of four urns, as well as a Stainless Steel Triune urn vault for memorial tribute. If permitted, a WilbertWay® graveside service may also be included.

Join us as we help families honor heroic lives, sacrificed in valiant service to neighbor and community.

Contact your local funeral professional for more information.

Ultimate Service Provider

Wilbert Funeral Service in Chicago (corporate HQ) has awarded St. Louis Wilbert with "Ultimate Service Provider"

There are four service levels: Minimum Service, Basic Service, Premium Service, and Ultimate Service Provider. To be classified as an Ultimate Service Provider, one must receive at least 75 points out of 88 points; a higher score is attainable when bonus points are earned for exceptional achievements. Points are collected by category, including tents, chairs, greens, Wilbert Way, lowering device, vaults, employees, and trucks and delivery. St. Louis Wilbert surpassed the 75 points needed to obtain Ultimate Service Provider. Although we are proud of this accomplishment internally, it pleases us most that local families are the recipients of this service.