Northern Indiana Funeral Care, the leader of low-cost funeral and cremation services in Fort Wayne, promotes the idea of a return to old and sensible traditions. We know many families are seeking simple, dignified services but not wanting to pay exorbitant prices charged by the large, corporate-owned funeral homes. Because we don’t maintain a large fleet of luxury vehicles or build lavish facilities all over the Fort Wayne area, we’re able to provide savings of 40% or more, all without compromising the quality of service you expect. Northern Indiana Funeral Care is the fastest growing funeral and cremation service company in Northeast Indiana and we appreciate your interest in us. It can be fascinating how things change. The following is a picture of what funeral service was like a century ago in Indiana. Although we’re not suggesting a return to exactly the way it was, the “spirit” of this story is what we have recaptured.
A hundred years ago, men (sorry ladies, there were only rare exceptions) who wanted to care for the dead would enroll in Schools of Embalming, typically graduating after a six or eight week course. During those years, the customs and procedures of caring for those who had died were quite different than today’s methods. When there was a death in the family it typically happened at home. Since telephones were rare, a relative would travel directly to the funeral director’s (in those day’s they were called undertakers) office notifying him of their families loss. The mortician would gather his equipment in his vehicle, travel to the home, and begin the many services for those surviving. First, he would have to attend to the embalming of the deceased. This was typically done by setting up his “portable” embalming table in the kitchen of the home. Many times, the loved ones of the deceased would watch the entire procedure. How times have changed!
After the embalming, he would then begin the arrangements for the service. Most times, the family would opt for at least two days of visitation (wake) in their family parlor, followed by the funeral service being conducted at their home or the remains being transferred to a place of worship.
Once the arrangements were decided, the funeral director would arrange to receive the casket, usually a Solid Hardwood from places like The National Casket Company of Indianapolis or Hutton Casket Company of Richmond, Indiana. In most cases the casket was shipped on the Interurban Transit System. After receiving the casket, the funeral director would then proceed back to the home for the dressing, cosmetics, and placement of the deceased in the casket.
After the visitation was completed, the funeral service would be conducted either at the home or the church with burial usually taking place at a church cemetery or the nearest national cemetery if they were a veteran.
These practices continued until 1933. That year, the State Of Indiana passed a law prohibiting the practice of embalming in any place other than an authorized and licensed embalming room. This change was the first event in the transformation of services that up until that time were centered at the home and church. It began the process of having the families come to the funeral facility which led funeral directors to add chapel facilities, coffee lounges, casket selection rooms, parking lots and other overhead such as “rolling stock” and casket inventory. With these enormous capital investments, prices of funerals increased substantially and the transformation of the funeral director going to the family to the family coming to the funeral director was complete.
Today, we have lavish funeral homes built with catering facilities, cremation centers as well as cremation gardens, scattering gardens and prayer facilities. These elaborate funeral centers have driven the cost of funerals to an average of $10,000 per person not counting any of the cemetery costs. We don’t believe this is necessary to provide a respectful and dignified way of celebrating a life of a loved one. When you think about it, as a society, we have taken areas of our lives and the services that often come with them and magnified these events to a point that costs have exceeded the “pocket book”. Higher education and weddings are just two things that come to mind. We find more and more people are looking for another way to have funeral, cremation, and cemetery needs met, both emotionally and financially, at a price they can afford.
We don’t claim to be any better than other Fort Wayne Funeral Homes, just different. By taking the facility out of the equation, it hearkens back to another time and we’re finding many people are pleased to have that option. We provide very respectful, simple services in the family church, or if a veteran, his or her local American Legion, VFW, or Am Vets Post. We have also recently conducted services at places like the Navy Club in Fort Wayne, the VA chapel, gazebos in parks, and also had a beautiful service at the Marriott Hotel in Fort Wayne. By using existing facilities, we can provide a service with a casket that many times is less than half of what a funeral would cost using a typical funeral home in Fort Wayne.
Northern Indiana Funeral Care is a branch location of Hite Funeral Home in Kendallville (Noble County) Indiana. Hite Funeral Home has been in business since the 1940’s. In the past, if it’s owner, Brian DeCamp, wanted to serve the Allen County area, he would have to build a facility comparable to other funeral providers in Allen County and offer his services at a cost comparable to the other providers. By keeping his facility costs and overhead low in Fort Wayne, along with only having to maintain an arrangement office, Northern Indiana Funeral Care is able to save families thousands of dollars.
Is this approach the best for everybody? Like anything it’s probably not. Some families want the added facilities and offerings. However, for those families who are interested in a simple, respectful celebration of life, we have the solution. Also, we are proud to be exclusively endorsed by The American Legion, Department of Indiana. We provide veterans unmatched services by this same approach through our Veterans Funeral Care Program. We are hopeful this gives you a basic understanding of what we offer and believe it’s the future of funeral service for a growing number of people.