Category Archives: Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana

Spring is coming…for real

 

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Tulips and Irish lasses for a day are a sure sign of Spring.  Teresa Dille shows off her love of the Irish for St. Patrick’s Day 2017

 

 

 

Flowers and leprechans … sure sign of Spring!

 

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March 21, 2017 · 3:36 pm

Lets go shopping for graves and caskets…

“Let’s go grave and casket shopping.”

Did you ever wake up on a bright, warm sunny spring day and turn to your husband or wife and say “What a nice day.  Let’s go grave and casket shopping.”?

Probably never is my guess.  Nobody likes to think about death in general, and specifically, their own death.  For many families, discussing one’s own mortality would not show up on a list of their top 100 things to talk about this week.  Until a death occurs.  Then, making cemetery and funeral arrangements jumps sorrowfully to number one on the list.

By pre-planning for your funeral and cemetery needs, you can relieve your family of having to make important financial decisions during a period of great stress and grief…a time when people aren’t thinking very clearly and may not know what to do because you never made your wishes known.

It’s easy to say, “Throw me in a bag in bury me in the woods,” which is a direct quote I heard once from a husband who was dragged by his wife to the cemetery to look into prearranging for their final wishes.  It was good for a laugh, but even he knew that his comment had zero merit.  But it is important to realize that the ritual of a funeral and/or memorial service isn’t for the deceased but for the living. It is a time when friends and family can gather together to grieve openly and to provide support for one another.

Pre-planning your funeral may be very informal, and as simple as filling out a Family Estate Planning Kit that is free from Calumet Park for the asking, and sharing your wishes with a family member. More formal arrangements in the form of a preneed contract can be set up with a Family Service Counselor or funeral director at Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart or Merrillville, or Rendina Funeral Home in Gary.  You can design exactly what meets your needs and financial situation.

And for those who want to relieve their family of the financial burden that goes along with making cemetery and funeral arrangements, you can take advantage of Calumet Park’s no interest payment plan that allows one to freeze the price and have their money trusted until needed at 1st Source Bank in Valparaiso.

Pre-planning, when done properly, can provide you with peace of mind because you know that your arrangements are ready when needed, and pre-funded, which means no worries about getting what you want if a death occurs unexpectedly and your bank account is not sufficient to meet the costs of even a simple funeral.  As with nearly all products and services, inflation drives the cost of funerals up yearly.  Preplanning and prefunding your final wishes ensures that your funeral is paid for at today’s prices.

While many people assume savings or life insurance will cover their final expenses, funerals must be paid for upfront, while many life insurance policies or bank accounts are not accessible to families until well after the funeral services are rendered.

 

 

By pre-planning your final wishes, you can:

  • make all the arrangements during a time of peace and not leave them to your family during their time of grief
  • make your wishes known
  • control the cost of your funeral and protect from inflation
  • ensure that personal records are organized and easy for your survivors to locate
  • protect your insurance so that it provides for your survivors and not for funeral expenses
  • provide protection in case the need arises before it is expected

Most people are not aware that over 150 decisions and tasks must be completed within the first 24-48 hours after an individual’s passing.  By arranging ahead of time, you can ensure that your loved ones will not have to wrestle over those details and decisions during their time of emotional upheaval.   The opportunity to know that everything is taken care of will allow proper remembrance and the first steps of healing.

All of your arrangements are guaranteed with Calumet Park and Affiliates preneed program and will be carried out just as you have directed.  You and your family will feel comfortable knowing that, when the need arises, all is taken care of and they can spend time celebrating a life that was lived and leave the grieving to the future.  Few people ever get over the loss of a loved one but a funeral helps to transition from life with a loved one to life after a loved one passes.

Pick up your phone today and call 219-769-8803 to speak to one of our professional and caring Family Service Counselors or funeral directors.  You have nothing to lose by at least allowing yourself a little time to have your questions answered, and if the answers meet your needs, you can make it possible for you and your loved ones to never have to talk about the subject again…until a death forces you to face the issue.  Be like so many of your neighbors who say “It is better to have it taken care of and not need it than to need it and not have it!”

 

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Please see me…

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Since the late 90’s, my M.S. had progressed to the point that I needed a power chair.   Needing a wheel chair does not define a person.

Experiencing people’s reaction to me in a chair has been a study in human behavior.  While eating out with my family recently, I went to get a refill of my drink and a woman asked me “How can you be so happy?” I was baffled and asked her what she meant. “Well, you’re in a wheelchair, so how can you be happy?” I was absolutely flabbergasted.  I think of these encounters as opportunities to educate so I explained the chair simply took the place of my legs. I am happy by choice.

On another occasion I was waiting for my ride after work in a doctor’s office. Many people going in and out would ignore me, even after I said hello. I felt invisible. One day I forgot to take off my stethoscope and EVERYONE responded to my greetings!

Did being a doctor or nurse make me more approachable or somehow less handicapped?  In crowded stores I am often bumped into or tripped over, again giving me the feeling of being invisible. Experimenting, I wore my stethoscope the next time I went shopping and not only was I not bumped into but people were would ask me if I needed any help! Many people either smiled or nodded at me as I shopped.

Was it possible that looking like a professional somehow altered people’s perception of me from being a disabled person to being “one of them”?  Was a stethoscope like a magic wand that suddenly made me visible?

My question is what perceptions do you have when seeing someone in a chair;  or of a different skin color, nationality or religion?

Article written by Laura Conant, freelance writer for Calumet Park

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From the archives….

2017-02-03-20-18-22Found in the archives, the invitation that was sent out for the dedication of the Catholic Sections from back in 1933.  Calumet Park, always and still family owned and operated.

2017-02-03-20-18-47 2017-02-03-20-18-54From its humble beginnings in 1928, Calumet Park has grown to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country.  Besides the cemetery, Calumet Park now owns and operates two crematories and three funeral homes:  Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville, Rendina Funeral Home in Gary and Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Crematory in Hobart.

For information on pre-planning your cemetery and funeral arrangements, call 219-769-8803 or stop in for a tour of any of our facilities.  Find out more about us by reading some of the posts in this blog or go to http://calumetparkcemetery.com

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Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville adds casket display area that is family friendly…

2017-01-17-21-37-34 2017-01-17-21-37-57 2017-01-17-21-38-30 2017-01-17-21-38-54 2017-01-17-21-39-15 2017-01-17-21-39-53 2017-01-17-21-40-05 2017-01-17-21-40-53 2017-01-17-21-41-01 2017-01-17-21-41-22 2017-01-17-21-41-48 2017-01-17-21-42-13 2017-01-17-21-42-36 2017-01-17-21-43-06 2017-01-17-21-43-35 2017-01-17-21-43-58 2017-01-17-21-44-05 2017-01-17-21-44-17 2017-01-17-21-44-27 2017-01-17-21-44-53-2 2017-01-17-21-44-53-6 2017-01-17-21-45-52 2017-01-17-21-46-24 2017-01-17-21-47-00 2017-01-17-21-47-08 2017-01-17-21-47-52 2017-01-17-21-48-02 2017-01-17-21-48-43 2017-01-17-21-48-56Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville recently added a casket display area at the cemetery.  There are so many people wishing to pre-arrange their cemetery and funeral needs that it has become a must to have a place that they can see the actual caskets and fabrics for the interior without having to go to a local funeral home.

You may click on any photo to enlarge it to see the detail of design and color.  All the caskets shown are Batesville caskets made in the USA in Batesville, Indiana.  Batesville is one of the oldest and biggest casket manufacturing companies in the country.  They are highly respected and admired for the quality and variety of their products, from simple to “how much?”  There is literally a design that meets all budgets.

Stop in for a free tour of the room and consider preplanning with Calumet Park using our interest free monthly payment plans, and do not forget to ask about our veteran program.

Call 219-769-8803, or stop by any of our locations as shown on our website http://calumetparkcemetery.com

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Why do cemeteries have so many rules?

osos     Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner.  Before you know it, the days will get longer, the sun will come up earlier and set later, and the warmth of the season will return.  It will not be long before February teases us with Groundhog’s Day.  Except for those who love the cold and snowy season, the hope for the rest of us is for a cloudy day so the groundhog will not see its shadow and we can have an early spring.  Or, so goes the folklore.

Regardless, as sure as warm weather returns, families will return to the cemetery in great numbers.  Flower planting in earnest begins after what is hoped to be the last frost of the season, and along with the beauty that grows from this annual process, also come the complaints.  Most of the complaints come in the form of “why can’t I plant whatever I want to”, or “someone took the Teddy Bear off my child’s grave”, or “I demand to know why there is water on my lot”, or “someone stole my flag” and on and on.

There are two main areas of concern when cemeteries decide what they will allow and not allow regarding grave decorations:  the appearance of the cemetery and the cost to maintain what is allowed.  For instance, some cemeteries allow virtually anything.  It does not take long for such cemeteries to start looking like a dump.  A Teddy Bear that is placed on a grave on a nice sunny day has a special meaning to the person who placed it there.  After the first rainfall and heavy winds, what was cute now looks like a clump of stuffed cloth that may have been blown far away from the original placement.

Flags, artificial flowers, concrete angels, shepherd’s poles holding baskets of flowers and more become hazards when the lawns are being maintained.  A lawnmower that costs thousands of dollars can have serious damage to its blades when it meets up with wires from grave decorations or objects of endearment that are quickly turned into refuse with just one pass of a sharpened blade.  Such objects can also present a danger to the grounds crew when a lawnmowers and weed eaters hit them with such force as to send projectiles in every direction.

It has been suggested that we have guards to keep items from being stolen.  Go back to your high school math days and run an estimate of costs which would have to be passed on to the consumer and it becomes a frightening number.  Forty sections (some sections would need many guards because of the contour of the grounds and the size of the sections) x three shifts of guards to cover the each 24 hour day x 365 days in a year x $20 per hour for each including benefits and taxes = approximately $876,000 per year.  And without trying to seem overly simplistic or dismissive in this cost analysis, that is a lot of money spent to keep the 10 to 12 items per year that are reported as having been stolen from being stolen.   As important as an item might be to the memory of a loved one, the best way to prevent items from being stolen is to not allow items of value that become an invitation to a thief.

We have 70,000 property owners and over the 88 years of our existence as a family owned enterprise, that translates into the millions of family and friends that are connected to Calumet Park Cemetery due to having loved ones buried here.  It would be prohibitively expensive to try to tell them all what the rules are so we have maps with grave decoration rules available at the front desk that speak to such issues.  We have staff available to answer any question about what is allowed on any given grave in the 160 developed acres of land, and when people invest in cemetery property, we give them clear guidelines on what is or is not allowed.

The point is that a decision was made in 1928 when this cemetery came into existence that it would always be maintained as a park-like parcel of land that would offer beauty and dignity to both the deceased and the families and loved ones of those cradled here for eternity.  It is not always popular to tell a family that their choice of a meaningful tribute is not allowed.  And today, with the use of the internet, people feel so brave as they make anonymous negative comments on company facebook pages and on websites.  Freedom of speech is always welcome, but when that freedom infringes on the rights of others, it is sad.  Each undeserved negative comment hurts the very entity that they attack.  In the case of Calumet Park Cemetery, the staff does all that is possible to ensure the beauty of the cemetery while complying with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

So, bring on spring and summer.  Bring on all the outdoor activities we love and the cookouts and the ice cream cones on a hot, summer’s night.  And please, check with us before coming in to plant for the 2017 year so we can work together on a way to honor those you love in a way that meets the needs of the many…and that means keeping your cemetery’s reputation as being a beautiful memorial park.

http://calumetparkcemetery.com

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Meeting John Glenn…

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John Glenn visited my Grandmother and Grandfather in 1975 at their house in Munster.   The reason for the visit was my uncle Stephen Kovacik wanted to introduce John Glenn to his parents.  Uncle Stephen was John Glenn’s campaign manager for the State of Ohio when he was running for Senator.  Stephen Kovacik SR, was one of the founders of Calumet Park.  (Carl Paunicka as a young boy meets astronaut John Glenn)

2014-10-10 08.02.54Current photo of Carl as one of the owners of Calumet Park Cemetery

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Ribbon cutting ceremony at Hobart funeral home on December 15th from 4-5:30…you are invited

2015-03-17 06.16.412015-03-17 06.18.33You are invited to our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Chamber’s of Commerce from Hobart, Portage and Lake Station.  The date will be Thursday, December 15, at 4:00-5:30 at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel located just south of Route 6 on County Line Road between Hobart and Portage.  Refreshments will be served.

This event is open to the public as well as local businesses.  It is a chance to have a tour of the building and meet your local funeral director and staff.  For directions or questions, call 219-940-3791.

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Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home Angel Tree Lighting Ceremonies well attended…

2015-10-09-08-07-29The Merrillville High School Choir greeted the attendees of Calumet Park Funeral Chapel’s annual Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday afternoon, December 3.  Over 150 men, women and children enjoyed the choir singing Christmas carols as they found their way to their seats in the chapel.

 

 

Harpist Renee Wilson treated the audience with soft holiday music while waiting for the program to begin.

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A special thanks to Michelle Hanrahan and all those who helped make the evening a success.  Assisting as needed were Kim Jones, Carrie Evans, Teresa Dille, Matt Hahn, Misti Ferkull, Sandy Ferris, Marcia Ochoa, Rick Kalk, Richard Stake, Dianne Correll, Kathy Chepela and Tammy Vogel.  Paul Vogel offered some thoughts and stories to remind us all of the reason for the season, while his brother Brant sang a song inspired by his grandfather and days fishing.  Matt and Sara Courtney and Caroline Moore shared a heavenly song and all enjoyed fellowship after the door prizes were awarded over delicious punch and an assortment of sweets.  And, for the first time, pictures of loved ones were projected on the wall as names and dates were read as loved ones placed glass angels on the tree.

Rendina’s ceremony was on Thursday afternoon organized by Taylor Wise, with Greg Schafer and many of the people mentioned above all helping out. (click on pictures to enlarge)  2015-10-07-08-22-48 2015-10-07-08-25-43 2015-10-07-08-26-30 2015-10-07-08-27-32 2015-10-07-08-43-06 2015-10-07-08-43-46 2015-10-07-08-44-59 2015-10-07-08-48-20 2015-10-07-09-02-22 2015-10-07-09-13-52

 

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Everybody has a Christmas story…here is mine for this year…pleasant reading.

murph-xmas

In the still of a night…

By Daniel G. Moran, Calumet Park Cemetery G.M.

In the middle of November, my 90 pound Airedale woke me up at 4:00 a.m. one morning by shoving his huge head under my cheek and jerking upward.  When he wants to go out there is little that one can do but accommodate his needs.  That, or listen to his deep and loud barking until you give in and get up.  Truth be told, as I get older, I get up more often in the night anyway so you could call us the “middle of the night relief team”.

Mac is actually a very quiet, well-mannered dog.   I adopted him from a rescue center last year and he has since become part of our family.  After grooming and getting his curly hair cut, he looks like the pure bred dog that he was born to be.

Anyway, that morning when I came in and got all cozy in my bed for another couple of hours of sleep, I started thinking of Christmas decorating.  My wife had already put up the small tree and all sorts of snowman and snowwoman stuff in the living room.  The family room would be next and that is where the big tree goes.  It is a large room and one that is always so Christmassy looking when decorated.  As I lay there, my thoughts were turning to hanging stockings, and 28 year old red Santa snack cups and plates for the cookies and milk lovingly put out by the girls when they were ‘believers’, and sugar plums dancing in my head.

I realized that I was decorating the room in my half-dream state, so why not get up and actually decorate?  I did get up and I did decorate…very quietly.  Mac  laid  by the fireplace and up went the tree and colored lights.  We treasured the Christmas decorations made by our girls, Megan and Colleen, from their early art classes in grade school.  They went on the tree along with all the other shiny and bright ornaments bought or gifted to us over the years.

I listened to Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole as they sang all the old, familiar Christmas songs… as only they could do.  I cannot hear Nat King Cole sing “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” without feeling nostalgic about the days of old when life seemed less complicated than the world we live in today.  It was then that I un-wrapped the manger scene and looked around for just the right place to put  Jesus, Mary and Joseph for all to see.

In the quiet of the early morning, I held the manger and looked intently at the detailed ceramic baby Jesus, and could truly feel the reason for the season.  If that particular moment would have been part of a Hallmark Holiday Movie made for TV, the viewer would have been transported from the here and now back to a memory bubble of me as a young boy in 1956.  I was with my father and we were knocking on the door of a very needy family.  I know they had to be needy because we lived in a house with no running water or bathroom and only the heat from a pot belly stove to keep us warm, and very few presents under the tree and still, my dad said we had to take some food to a family that was really poor.

I clung to a basket of canned goods and dad held a turkey (it may have been a chicken or a crow for all I knew… as a little seven year old boy, what did I know from turkeys?) as he knocked on the door.  The porch had broken boards, and the screen was torn.  When the door creaked open, a mom stood there with a mess of wee one’s clinging to her skirt and tentatively asked us what we wanted.

The entire drive to their house was spent with my rehearsing what I was to say when the door opened, so when I blurted out “Merry Christmas.  We wanted to share our blessings with you.”, I think I scared her and her kids.   Somehow, I choked the words into the crisp air, and the lady looked down at me and up to my father and back to me.  I remember her tears, but even more, I remember my father’s tears.  Men don’t cry and yet, there was dad, wiping away nearly frozen droplets of water as he told her that “God was good to us this year, and we wanted to bring some good cheer to your family”.

Hallmark Productions would then fade back to the present as one tear slid down my cheek.  Oddly, Mac opened his eyes at that moment, started to get up, and we stared for a  few seconds at each other. He plopped back down, to the floor and was soon snoring.  I placed the manger on a shelf and thanked God for the memory.

Sixty years had passed since that little boy learned that wealth is not in having things but rather being taught to see beyond the trappings of the holidays.  Shopping and living a month in the hustle and bustle of modern day X-mas has no meaning when Christ is taken from the greetings of the season.  I learned that one can be rich in one’s soul when a soul is opened to Jesus, our Savior.  My dad knew that in his simple approach to life.  He was good, and kind, and tolerant and a man of love.  He took the command to love your neighbor to heart and quietly went about his life letting his actions speak for him.

There are so many that like to hear themselves quote from the bible.  Then, there are others who do their best to live the precepts that were taught to us by Jesus during the last three years of His life.  I was not created as the best looking person in the room with the most wonderful and likable personality.  But I was created in the image of God, and I continuously strive to be the best person that I can be.  There have been many failed days over the past 67 years for this writer, but my faith has always remained strong through thick and thin.

A gift to me for this year was being awakened by a dog so I could decorate a tree so I could put up a manger so I could be reminded of the fact that love is the reason for the season, and real wealth is in our hearts.  Share a smile, a meal, an angel tree gift for children so they can feel, even if but for a moment, that humans do not always have to be on the take.  Let them learn how to receive so they may one day find the joy in giving.

Merry Christmas to all.  Help me take the X out of X-mas!

 

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