H. H. Dokken and M. F. Getchell opened the Dokken Funeral Home at 19 W. Babcock on January 1, 1927, and on October 1 that year they purchased Mr. West’s business. The funeral business was conducted from the Babcock location until 1938 when the new funeral home was built at 113 South Willson. Mr. Dokken purchased Mr. Getchell’s interest in 1929. On January 1, 1946, Howard I. Nelson and Roderick M. Kippen purchased one-half interest in the business. Both young men “grew up” around the funeral profession and having served their country in WWII returned to their families and homes in Bozeman. The business carried on under the name Dokken, Nelson and Kippen Funeral Service. The chapel was named the “Sunset Chapel” because of its sunset effects as well as being symbolic of the sunset of life. In 1954, Mr. Kippen passed away, and the business name was changed to Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.
Rexal “Rex” Troth was farming in Hardin, MT. In the mid to late 1960s he decided to attend mortuary school in Texas, and in the late 1960s moved to Bozeman, along with his wife, Verlene, to help Howard Nelson run the funeral home. Rex Troth bought into the business fairly quickly after arriving in Bozeman. While in Hardin, Rex had a friend from church named Jim (James R.) Mitchell, who was a funeral director, and a few years after moving to Bozeman he called Jim and asked him to come and work with him at Dokken-Nelson.
Jim was born and raised in Orleans, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska – Kearney Branch – in 1956. Jim was drafted into the Army the day after he graduated from college, and he served in Germany during his military career. Jim got his start in funeral service in Hardin, Montana, at Bullis Mortuary. On January 1, 1973, Jim and Bernie and their two kids, Andrea and Jim, Jr., moved to Bozeman, they bought out Howard’s interest, and eventually Rex’s – they became sole owners in 1986. And Jim and Bernie Mitchell were owners of Dokken-Nelson until September of 2007 when they sold the business to Chris and Monica Remely.
Chris grew up in Bozeman, graduating from Bozeman Senior High School in 1987 and from Montana State University with a Business Finance Degree in 1992. Chris had helped Jim at the funeral home part-time during college. With Jim’s encouragement, Chris attended the Dallas School of Mortuary Science. He returned to Bozeman in February of 1995 to join Jim full time at the funeral home. Chris and Monica have two daughters, Taylor and Ashley.