History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
One of Akron’s First Undertakers
In 1875, when Captain George Billow returned from the Civil War, he stabled his team of horses on Ash Street and offered his service, trust, and integrity to Akron families as one of Akron’s very first undertakers, operating from a store front on Howard Street, at the corner of Mill. At the turn of the century, visitation and funeral services were held in the home, most homes having been built with oversized doors leading from parlor to front porch for the express purpose of allowing passage of a casket and pallbearers.
Akron’s First Ambulance Service
The establishment of City Hospital in 1892 led the Billow Company into another form of service to the community; by 1911, Billow’s operated the first ambulance service in Akron.
The First Funeral Home in Akron
In 1915, anticipating the trend toward the convenience of having funeral services at a location other than home, Captain George built the first funeral home in Akron at 118 Ash Street on the site of his original stables. Church funeral services or dignified memorials at the funeral parlor supplanted the crowded discomfort of services at home.
A Family Business
Before 1890, Captain Billow’s son, George W. had joined him in practice. Other sons, Edwin and Charles F. were soon to follow, as did Captain Billow’s grandsons, Paul E., Archie L., and Arthur F. In 1983, Arthur’s son, Charles W. Billow became the president and principal owner of the Billow Company, and still plays an integral and active role in the company today.
Expanding to Serve the Needs of Akron Area Families
As the greater Akron area has grown, so has Billow’s, opening the Cuyahoga Falls Chapel in 1954, and the Portage Lakes Chapel in 1963. When the original Ash Street location had to make way for the Akron Expressway in 1967, the spacious and modern chapel in Fairlawn became Billow’s headquarters building. Our clean and modern facilities represent the finest funeral homes in the greater Akron area.
Five Generations of Family Service
Today, The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory are owned and operated by Charles W.’s son, Charles M. Billow, the fifth generation of Billow at the helm. His sister, Ann Billow Grebelsky, is the secretary-treasurer of the company. Our proud tradition of providing service with dignity and respect has remained unaltered since 1875 and will continue to surpass the standard of excellence for years to come.
Our Valued Staff
Charles M Billow, President/CEO
An Akron native, I graduated from Firestone High School, the University of Akron and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary science. I serve as President of Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory, a fifth generation family owned business serving greater Akron since 1875. My current activities include serving as a Member of Akron General Health System’s Finance Committee and Board Member of Visiting Nurse Service & Affiliates, Inc., Hospice Care Ohio, Better Business Bureau of Akron, Summit County Historical Society and the St. Paul’s Endowment Foundation. I am a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Diocesan Council- Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, Commerce Club of Akron, Leadership Akron Alumni Association, Tallmadge Rotary, WKSU Community Advisory Council and Bluecoats, Inc. I am married with three children and live in Tallmadge.
Ann Billow Grebelsky, Secretary/Treasurer and Funeral Director
As manager of the Fairlawn Chapel, I grew up at the funeral home and have worked for the company since 1982. I attended Ashland College and the University of Akron, and am a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I served as past president of Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association, and past president of the Junior Board of Akron City Hospital, where I am currently a member of the Women’s Board of Summa Health System. Married with one child and 3 grandchildren, I live in Akron. I love dogs, cooking, outdoors and sunshine.
I love helping families in their time of need.
Donald P Taylor, Vice President & Funeral Director
In addition to my duties as a funeral director, I have served the company as the Personnel Director and as the manager of the Falls Chapel. An employee of the Billow Co. since 1985, I graduated from the University of Akron, and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Brian P Eger, Funeral Director & Embalmer
I graduated from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1981 where I served as Class President. I obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science from Edgecliff College of Xavier University in 1983. An active member and youth sponsor of Northwest Ave. Church of Christ in Tallmadge, I served as a Past President and am currently on the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Embalmers Association, and am a member of National Funeral Directors Association and Adoniram- Joppa Lodge # 517 F. & A. M. I have been licensed as an Ohio funeral director and embalmer since 1982 and joined the staff of Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory in 2007. Married with 3 children, my hobbies include reading, hiking and playing percussion in a Reggae band with my son. Enjoying and participating in music has always been a passion of mine.
Being a funeral director/embalmer has allowed me to provide an invaluable service to families in the community at a time of greatest need; the death of a loved one. To be the "calm during the storm" and to anticipate ways to be of help when they may feel helpless is a truly rewarding experience.
Matthew J Carter, Funeral Director & Embalmer
I was born in Cincinnati and raised in Hamilton, Ohio where I attended Stephen T Badin High School. I attended Miami University prior to transferring to the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. I graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mortuary Science. Family is incredibly important to me and I spend whatever time I can visiting home and hanging out with my parents, brother, sisters and the family dogs. I am an avid reader, love art and going to the movies. As a funeral director and embalmer I feel like every day is an opportunity to reach out and help someone and to take care of them and their family in a very difficult time.
Denny Vlahos, Director of Advanced Funeral Planning
My name is Demetri “Denny” Vlahos, and I am the Director of Advanced Funeral Planning at the Billows Funeral Homes & Crematory. My role is to facilitate funeral pre-arrangements for families and individuals in the community that we have proudly served for so many generations.
I can assure you and any loved one, that you will be treated with dignity and respect concerning any planning issue or end-of-life concern. Additionally, my involvement is not just contained to the funeral home, but can be seen through lunch & learns, senior expos, and various other workshops on related topics. My goal is to enlighten the community and dispel any misinformation about the death-care industry.
My beautiful wife Michelle and I live in the Jackson Township area, where I am involved in various “praise & worship” activities. As a classically trained concert guitarist, I have performed with a Symphony Orchestra, and have taught at KSU Stark and Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. We have one pet cat named “tinker” and that keeps us busy and entertained.