Category Archives: Funeral home

Can one or two people make a difference in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey?

Paul Vogel from Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville, Indiana and Jim Bognar, a Merrillville police officer, in Houston to help families after Hurricane Harvey blasted the Texas with wind and almost unending rainfall.

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Mr. Liu with Paul Vogel. Mr. Liu is a Vietnamese homeowner who just moved into his home three weeks before the storm. He liked the river location because it reminded him of home. His family escaped Vietnam after the communist takeover via a boat to the Philippines.

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Paul Vogel (left) with his team, working to help families with clean-up in Houston.

There is a story of a man who came upon a small child tossing starfish back into the ocean.  The man asked the boy what he was doing.  The boy picked up another starfish and threw it as far as he could, and told the man he was saving the starfish’s life.  The man looked around and saw hundreds of beached starfish and told the boy he was wasting his time.  “There are hundreds of starfish here so what difference will it make if you save a few?”, he asked.  The boy went about his business as he threw another starfish into the water, turned to the old man and declared, “It made a difference to that one.”

Loading up a truck of all sorts of things that will be needed for the people of Houston.

Items collected from Calumet Park Cemetery and affiliates employees and members of Valley Baptist Church and Bridgepoint Church in Valparaiso.

And so it is with two local men who felt that driving to Houston, hooking up with the Second Baptist Church and Pastor Craig Reynolds (a former Houston Astros shortstop) in Houston, and donating their time and energy to helping where needed.  Their mission is to help in any way possible and to answer the simple question of WWJD. .. What would Jesus do?  Paul and Jim are on a mission to “save some starfish”, and what better way than to get your hands dirty and help families, one at a time.

As difficult to believe it to be possible, looters are going through neighborhoods and stealing from those who have had their lives turned upside down from the storms. There should be a special place in hell for such sinful behavior.

The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is beyond anything that words can describe.  Pictures can show the destruction of homes, cars, businesses and even life.  Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and everything you owned was gone.  Include in this the business that you worked at, the paycheck that no longer exists, the lack of food and shelter, and the despair and loss of hope that you would be feeling.  And in every direction you look your friends and family and neighbors by the millions are frightened to their last nerve as you all wonder how you will survive.  There is no electricity, no water, no food, no stores to buy food, no way to get to stores if money were not an issue,  and all the while the threat of another hurricane lurking in the Atlantic.

Storms do bring out the worst in people, but they also bring out the best in so many others.  There are thousands of Paul Vogel’s and Jim Bognar’s descending on Houston and Florida with but the muscle on their bones and a desire to help every family, rich or poor, white or black or Hispanic, and every color in-between, and every faith under God.  Seen nailed over one door was a simple sign:  Grant me patience Lord, but hurry!!  Our TV’s are filled with videos and pictures that try to capture all that is going on in Houston and now, Florida, and all the other countries that were hit so hard by Hurricane Irma.

The simple phrase This Too Shall Pass makes for a nice graphic to place over a sofa in one’s home, but it is hard to believe the message when the sofa and the wall of the house has been blown away.  This is where true faith comes in as there will come a time that all of the houses will be rebuilt.  All the furniture, and clothes and appliances and cars and all that has been lost will be replenished.  Eternity is what ultimately matters, and all of those who have joined in the quest to rebuild Houston and the East Coast and beyond are following their hearts as they seek to be of service to all of the victims as God’s helpers.

So, thanks to Paul, and Jim and the thousands who have donated to the cause of rebuilding lives.  Find a charitable group, from the Red Cross to veterans groups to local churches that are collecting money to help those who cannot help themselves, and give as though you were the one that needed to receive.  Forego the steak and go with a hot dog and send the extra money to help.  Every penny does become a dollar which does become a life savor to those who need your kindness and generosity more now than ever before.  You will feel great when you give more than you think you can afford.

And prayers are always welcomed…for the victims and for those trying to make a difference to every starfish and every child of God.

For information of prearranging for cemetery and funeral needs, call 219-769-8803.

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Memory challenges – age or Alzheimer’s

Memory challenges – age or Alzheimer’s

by Laura Conant, Calumet Park Correspondent

Have you been forgetting things a lot lately? Can’t find your keys or glasses? Is the worry of Alzheimer’s nagging at the back of your mind?  More than 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s so it’s in the news a lot.

Let’s put your worries to rest by finding out what are symptoms of normal aging vs. symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Memory problems such as forgetting recent conversations, misplacing items, difficulty in solving problems, can be normal as we age. It may take us longer to do complex tasks but we can do them without a lot of confusion. Signs of Alzheimer’s would be misplacing something and be unable to know how to retrace your steps to find it. Balancing your checkbook may become difficult as numbers no longer make sense. You may start getting lost on familiar routes while either walking or driving. Familiar areas now feel foreign.

Language problems can include not remembering the names of familiar objects like the TV or phone, or suddenly stopping in the middle of a conversation because you can’t remember what you were talking about. It’s not just losing your train of thought-it’s that you don’t remember starting the conversation at all. You may start having trouble reading by not recognizing or understanding the words.

Depression and becoming very easily agitated is another sign. Losing interest in things you previously enjoyed and being in a flat mood, personality changes and the loss of social skills are other symptoms of Alzheimer’s. You, yourself, may not be able to perceive these changes but may experience family members or friends telling you about them.

If you or a loved one are having any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a physician to start treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

Dear Family and friends,

Please try to understand what I am now; not think of me as I was.  I am alone, shut in, with my fears, my frustrations, my forgetfulness.  Forgive me if I strike out at you.  Why do I do that?  What has happened to me?  I cannot cope in this alien world.  I feel threatened.  I am frightened.  Speak softly, approach slowly.  Repeat again and again what you want of me.  Those twisted tangles in my brain have messed up my world.  Be patient, for I do love you.  And I need your help and love so very, very much.  Your Alzheimer Patient.  by Joy Glennner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Memorial Weekend Events at Calumet Park Cemetery….

We hope to see you all at the cemetery over Memorial Weekend.  Following is a list of scheduled events:

May 27, Saturday at 7:00 p.m. – free fireworks show with free hayrides and horse and buggy rides

May 28, Sunday at 1:00 p.m. – veterans memorial service with the American Legion 1st District, Rep. Visclosky to speak

May 29, Monday at 10:00 there will be a Catholic Service, a St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Service, and a Bethel church in Hobart-Portage service

May 29, Monday at 11:30 there will be a SS Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Service

Sale:  20% off all pre-need graves, 15% off all monuments and markers and 25% off the Veteran Memorial Columbarium niches

The sale runs through May 31 so if you are in need of any of these sales items, stop in and see how much you can save by acting now.  Zero interest payment plans available

For directions or if you have any questions, call 219-769-8803

Hope to see you over the weekend.  Be safe and enjoy the unofficial beginning of summer.

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What the…..

 

     “What the….?”

I was finishing up a hot, salted pretzel with melted cheese at Subway recently.  My wife was doing some shopping at Walmart, and I was along for the ride.  But the salted, baked dough drew me away from the sock isle, so God bless the little things in life.  That is when he came in.  And that is when I learned a little about prejudging people without knowing anything about them except how they look.

As I dipped my last piece of pretzel in the cheese, a man came into the Subway space.  His hair was not so long as it was frazzled…windblown in a not so attractive way.  His beard appeared to be a blotchy three day growth and his mustache was long and drooping over his mouth.  He had on a camouflage shirt and sweat pants with no-name gym shoes on.   If I had to guess his age, he might have been anywhere between 60 to 70 years old.

In an instant, he pulled a chair right up to the counter and sat down right in front of the register.  He stared at the teenage girl working the counter that evening for what was to me an uncomfortable amount of time.  The first thing that came to my mind was “What the….?”  As in many trips to Walmart, I felt I was going to see something that I never saw before so I cupped my ear to better hear where this was going, if and when he should speak.  I was seated about 10 feet from the action and was ready to rescue the girl if things went bad.

Of course, with my own aged knees, it would have taken me some time to leap into action, but that is another story.  Sixty-eight year old legs do not respond quickly to messages from the brain.  It was then that he bent down, pulled up his left pant leg, and removed his artificial limb.  He rubbed the stump for a minute or two, then put the leg (from the knee down) back on, returned his pant leg back into place, stood up, and pulled a note from his pocket.

I was embarrassed by my quick reaction that trouble just sat down.  He spoke softly, slowly, and almost bashfully as he placed his order for four foot-longs.  Reading from the note, he completed his order.  I was into the moment by this time, and I approached him.  Politely I told him I saw that he lost a limb, and asked if he would mind sharing what happened to him.  Keep in mind that I have never gone up to a stranger and asked such personal questions before, but I was drawn to this man.

His answer hit me in the gut.  I am sure that my face got red as my own emotions regarding his answer brought up some long suppressed memories of my own.  “Lost it in Viet Nam,” he answered simply.  Just then the teen rang up his order and asked how he wanted to pay for it.  I told her that I would get it which opened up a small debate between myself and the stranger.  I said it was the least I could do as he paid so much on the battlefield.  I won the argument as I told him that I spent a couple of tours in Nam myself.  He was a marine and we joked about who needed who the most…the marines needing the Special Forces or vice versa.

After we talked about when, and where and the why’s of how we spent our time so many years ago in a jungle on the other side of the world, I found out that he was my age, was a “region rat”, now lived in Vegas and liked to come back to NW Indiana once a year to go fishing and visit with old friends.  I thanked him for his service and he turned and started to walk away.  I sat back down and finished my cold drink, lost in thought.

It was shortly after that I felt someone standing beside me on my blind side.  I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see this walking-wounded veteran looking down at me.  I no longer saw the mismatched clothes, or the straggly hair or the answer to my “what the?” from minutes before.  I saw clarity in his eyes and a smile.  His hand was outstretched waiting for a traditional handshake.  I extended my hand and he spoke softly, slowly and clearly.

“Thanks for the sandwiches.  It has been 45 years since I got home and you are the first person who has ever done anything like this for me.  Just wanted you to know that meeting you was special.”  I could barely hold back my own tears and mumbled  “no problem, sir” as we both felt a little weird, but in a good way.  He turned and walked away, and I spotted my wife at the checkout counter.  She asked who was the guy I was talking with since she knows I am not a talk-to-strangers kind of person.

So, what is the point, Dan?  The point is that Memorial Weekend will soon be upon us.  The point is not a stranger buying a stranger a sandwich.  The point is that there are so many walking wounded men and women that cross all of our paths every day who wore the uniform of the U.S. armed forces.  Much of their pain and injuries are mental.  It is easy to see a man’s artificial limb in one hand while massaging a stump of a leg with the other and think, “Oh, let me buy him a sandwich”.  What about all the survivors who have been in all the wars we have been involved in that walk around each day struggling to just maintain.  There are ghosts that fill the dreams of so many, ghosts of horrors that few can ever comprehend unless you too walked in their shoes.

Memorial Weekend is a time to honor these people.  To realize and appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families made to keep us safe and free.  Whether one’s leg is torn away in a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam, or a soul is twisted and crushed from man’s inhumanity to man during times of combat in the Mideast, men and women come home from war changed.  They need love and patience and understanding and space.  They need to be acknowledged, even if only on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Weekend.  It is in the power of every person that reads this story to buy a sandwich for a vet, or cut the grass for an old timer who helped to secure your rights as a U.S. citizen…and say thanks.

Nobody who has seen the things our military has seen, or been called upon to do the things that they are called upon to do should ever sit alone and wonder what it was all for.  Oh, we will be embarrassed when you say thanks for your service…we will not want you to buy us lunch…we will try to refuse your help even though it may truly be needed.  Extend yourself, and appreciate those brave men and women who have given so much.  A good place to start is visiting Calumet Park cemetery over Memorial Weekend.  Find time to share an hour of your life in showing you care.  The official Memorial Day Service at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville will be May 28 at 1:00 p.m.  Invite your friends and take the opportunity to show you care.

Call 219-769-8803 for information on prearranging for your cemetery and funeral needs

 

 

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Easter is just around the corner…

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April 5, 2017 · 1:59 pm

Celebrating your love…

Kim Jones (on left) with Darrel and Mrs. McNeal at official grand opening of Rendina Funeral Home. Kim is a Certified Celebrant and can help you at any of our facilities. Darrel is our liaison with Batesville casket company.

It may sound strange to celebrate the life of a loved one that just died.   Yet, think of the last funeral you attended and what much of your conversation was about.  You shared memories of the good times with that person, and the good things about that person that helped to create the good times.  Grief will come.  There will be plenty of time to grieve.  But for the moments when you gathered to say goodbye to the person who passed and hello to so many others that you had not seen for so long, a celebration of a life that was lived helps with the healing process.

To have a fitting, respectful and beautiful goodbye is part of the reason that we carry on the ritual of the funeral.  At Calumet Park Funeral Chapels in Merrillville and Hobart, and Rendina Funeral Home in Gary, the services of a Certified Funeral Celebrant are available for families who are charged with the duties of final arrangements.  Calumet Park’s Celebrant is a  funeral director with special training to help produce a final goodbye that leaves a warm place in the hearts of those who cared enough to attend the funeral of your loved one.

What is a Celebrant?  A Celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to meet the needs of families during their time of loss.  A Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service that is personalized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased.  A Celebrant offers an alternative to a service provided by a clergy person for those families who are not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service.

A Celebrant has been specifically trained to design a service that is completely personal.  They incorporate those unique stories, songs and experiences that defined the loved one.  A  Celebrant will schedule a special family time for the family to share memories, anecdotes, and special moments in the loved one’s life.  The essence of the service will be based upon the remembrances of the family.

A Celebrant has a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches.  The Celebrant will consult with the family to help design a service that best reflects and memorializes the life of their loved one.

A Celebrant is bound by a code of ethics for complete confidentiality in all dealings with the family.  He or she will provide a special unique committal service at the cemetery with balloon releases, dove releases, special music, friends and families leaving special notes on the loved one’s casket, and much more.

Kim Jones, funeral director and  manager of all three funeral homes, is a Certified Celebrant.  She will sit down with the entire family and let the family share stories and reminisce about their loved one.  During this time, which can last an hour or two, she will listen carefully and ask questions to gain a better understanding of your loved one during your grieving process.

Everyone grieves differently and it is healthy to express your feelings, tell stories and remember the beauty that was your loved one.  According to Doug Manning of IN-SIGHT BOOKS, INC., “Your loved one are never gone if you keep their memories alive.”   A Certified Celebrant is trained to seek and provide the most comprehensive and sensitive training available for people wishing to develop their knowledge and skills of this profession of funeral directing.  It is important that a family knows they are being served by someone who understands the process and is prepared to offer the very best and most personal funeral possible.

Call Kim at 219-736-5840 for more information regarding Certified Funeral Celebrants.  Find out if including a Celebrant as part of your funeral is right for you.

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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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New Calumet Park Funeral Home in Hobart has ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber’s of Commerce of Hobart and Portage…

On December 15 the Chamber of Commerce for both Hobart and Portage joined together in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart.  the funeral home is located just south of Ridge Road on County Line Road between Hobart and Portage.  Considering the day was the coldest of the year to that point, a nice turn-out of local businesses and residents stopped by for the ceremony.

Location supervisor Roy McNeal and his assistant, Mike Poweska, had the newly renovated funeral home looking great.  The entire Board of Directors joined in the ceremony, with gifts handed out to all attendees.  Hobart Mayor, Brian Snedecor welcomed Calumet Park to the business community, and both Lisa Winstead from Hobart and Nancy Simpson from Portage shared some thoughts as the ribbon was cut making Calumet Park an official member of the community.

Stop by anytime for a private tour of the facility and meet the staff.  For more info, call 219-940-3791.

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