History of Ohio Vault Works

In 1934, Amos and Albert West founded Ohio Vault Works, Inc., originally located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. A young man by the name of Jerry Prochaska began his career in the burial vault business as a laborer for Amos and Albert West in 1944. At the young age of sixteen, Jerry was the deciding vote in the Union and was let go from his position with Ohio Vault Works as a result.

Following his departure from Ohio Vault Works, Jerry enlisted in the Army and served in World War II. Upon his return, Jerry had several jobs, one of which led him right back to the burial vault business. With his GI Bill, Jerry opened a dry cleaning business, and Albert West became one of his clients. It was at Jerry’s dry cleaning company that Mr. West approached him to take over the operation of his vault company so he could take leave to early retirement. He was unhappy with the way his foreman had been running the manufacturing facility following Jerry’s original departure, and from past experience knew Jerry took great pride in his work and was an excellent leader. Upon the passing of both his parents the previous year, Jerry closed his dry cleaning business and went back to work for Mr. West who granted Jerry the opportunity of ownership in Ohio Vault Works via shares of company stock.

Jerry successfully developed Ohio Vault Works into a lucrative burial vault company. In 1969, he had officially turned Ohio Vault Works into a family business by hiring his son, Kirk, into the very same labor position in which he had started his own career. Following the passing of Mr. West and after working together for several years, Jerry and Kirk decided they would travel to Florida to make an offer to Albert West’s wife to purchase the remaining stock in the company located on the corner of 116th Street and Harvard Avenue in Cleveland. In 1979, Ohio Vault Works officially became a father and son owned business with the purchase having cleared and the West Family’s stock in the company transferring to Jerry and Kirk Prochaska.

After much sacrifice and hard work, Jerry and Kirk had the opportunity to grow their business in 1989 by purchasing Wilker Vault Company in Lorain. With the purchase came only one customer but over the next few years, the Lorain business grew quickly and gained a large part of the market share in Lorain County. Lorain Wilbert Vault Company continues to thrive today. Ohio Vault Works still maintains and utilizes its smaller Lorain plant as a distribution warehouse, although the more modern building located on Halle Drive is where the majority of the companies’ products are manufactured, decorated, and delivered. As this family-owned and operated business continued to flourish by providing a quality product and exceptional customer service, another opportunity for growth arose with the opportunity to purchase Cleveland Vault Company, a substantial-sized company located in Valley View, Ohio. The purchase would at least double their business and provide a beautiful new building and property providing the space they needed to grow. The opportunity became a reality in December 1992 following several meetings between good friends and competing vault company owners, Kirk Prochaska and John Hornik, to negotiate the transfer of ownership of Cleveland Vault Company to Ohio Vault; John remained a loyal friend and employee until his passing in 2016 and is very dearly missed by all.

In 1996, Ohio Vault Works brought in new family blood as Tanya (Prochaska) Early began working in the office. In 1997, the passing of Jerry Prochaska marked a time of sorrow for everyone at Ohio Vault, but the company continued to succeed and grow; we know Jerry would be proud of where the company he poured his heart and soul into stands today. Upon graduating college with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Business Management, Tanya remained with the company full-time assuming the responsibility of Vice President. Through her visions of product diversification and her placement of increased importance on graveside service, the company diversified into providing expanded services such as Wilbert Way graveside services and individualized personalization options, as well as the diversification of the company to include the manufacturing of mausoleum crypts and providing cremation products and services. In addition, the importance Tanya places on successful management and succession prompted the creation of plant managers at Ohio Vault Works; currently, plant manager, Michael Miller, and assistant plant manager, John Tomaro, maintain operations and help develop strategy and direction in Cleveland throughout continued expansion.

In 2009, a project three years in the making was finally completed; Ohio Vault Works opened their state-of-the-art crematory. The facility includes a beautiful viewing room for small gatherings, viewings, and ceremonies for cremation families, cutting-edge cremation equipment and technology, and a continuing education facility for funeral professionals. The building also includes a pet crematory, propelling the company into the pet market, yet another exciting first for Ohio Vault. Paws and Remember of Northeast Ohio, the pet division of our company, offers memorialization products, grief support, and cremation services for families experiencing the loss of their beloved pet family members. Michael Early, Ohio Vault’s Operations Manager, is responsible for maintaining and developing the strategy and direction for the cremation facility. Like Jerry and Kirk before him, Mike began his career learning the business from labor to management; his career at the company began in a labor position in May 2005.

In 2015, Ohio Vault Works was again blessed with the opportunity to expand its footprint in the funeral industry. The purchase of Fithian-Wilbert Burial Vault Company in Youngtown, Ohio allowed the company to encompass a larger distribution and service area. Again, following several meetings between good friends and neighboring vault companies, Tanya Early and Heather Davis, the transfer of ownership was official in January 2015; Heather remains a loyal friend and was an employee until her retirement in March 2020, which was well-deserved following her successful ownership of Fithian-Wilbert for decades and her exceptional service to Ohio Vault for over five years. Currently, Jason McClintock, Plant Manager, is responsible for maintaining and developing the strategy and direction for our Youngstown facility.

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

Ohio Vault Works offers burial vaults and cremation urn products to 14 counties in Ohio: Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, and Trumbull

Contact Us
Ohio-Northeast Map


Set Up

Ohio Vault Works offers basic, standard, and Wilbert Way/Ovation set ups, depending on services provided by each individual cemetery and the product chosen. Our Customer Service Representatives place the base of the outer burial container in the grave prior to the family’s arrival for our basic outer burial container service and lower the cover on the base following the family’s departure.  The outer burial container is usually not displayed. Our standard burial vault service offers above ground sealing with the cover of the vault prominently displayed on greens or skirted in our blue fabric near the grave for the family to admire. 
Our Wilbert Way and Ovation services also offer above ground sealing and is an available option on our Stainless Steel Triune®, Cameo Rose®, Veteran®, Copper Triune®, Bronze Triune®, and Wilbert Bronze® burial vaults.  The Wilbert Way and Ovation devices display the cover and base of the burial vault together and especially accentuate personalization options chosen to be placed on the cover of the burial vault.  The devices are operated by our CSRs to seal the vault above ground and lower the sealed vault into the grave efficiently.  Wilbert Way and Ovation services include one 15’ x 15’ blue tent, casket lowering device, grass to cover the complete gravesite area, six chairs with blue chair covers, tissues, and bottled water (seasonal).

Casket Lowering Device & Grass 

Ohio Vault Works will provide grass to cover the complete gravesite area and a casket lowering device to lower the casket into the base of the outer burial container in the circumstance that a cemetery does not provide this service.  Ohio Vault Works will manage the delivery, set up, and removal of the equipment.


Upon your request, Ohio Vault Works will provide a 15’ x 15’ tent to cover the burial area and provide a comfortable place for families to gather during the graveside service for burials at cemeteries that do not provide this service.


Upon your request, Ohio Vault Works will provide chairs with blue chair covers for burials at cemeteries that allow but do not provide this service.


Ohio Vault Works can assist in the relocation of a vault from one location to another. Please contact our office for further details.

Vault Transfer

Vault Transfer is a service available between Wilbert Licensees and dealers. Ohio Vault Works 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, and chairs that each licensee will provide for the burial.

* Many of our cemeteries provide their own services at varied levels depending on the specific cemetery.  Our services are not applicable to cemeteries providing their own vault installation and services with exception of the Wilbert Way and Ovation setups, which some cemeteries (including all Cleveland Catholic Diocese Cemeteries) allow us to set.  Please download our Cemetery Database or check with Ohio Vault Works, Inc. staff if you need assistance on what we are able to provide at a cemetery to which you are taking a loved one.

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 Ohio Wilbert Vaults with "Ultimate Service Provider" for the tenth year in a row.

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. Ohio Vault Works 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.