Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Cranston Family Funeral Home putting up new building in Fairfield
FAIRFIELD – Cranston Family Funeral Home was founded seven years ago, and has been expanding ever since, including into a new building under construction on the west side of Fairfield.
Jeremy and Jamie Cranston started Cranston Family Funeral Home in 2015 when they purchased Kremer Funeral Home in Eldon. Two years later, they purchased Raymond Funeral Home in Fairfield, and in 2021 they purchased Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua. Shortly thereafter, the company broke ground with a new building to be located at 2805 W. Burlington Ave. in Fairfield, which will be called Irish Ridge Cremation.
“I have always wanted to build a one-level funeral home, and our plan was to build onto Irish Ridge Cremation,” Jeremy said. “We made plans to begin that process this year, and are very happy with the progress being made each day to the building.”
Irish Ridge is an area of land located near Deep River, Iowa, where Jeremy was raised. It’s where he grew up, and spent many years hunting and farming with his grandfather, uncle, father and brother.
“I wanted to honor the Cranston family by bringing in some of our history and so we decided to name part of our business after the Irish Ridge,” Jeremy said.
According to his biography on the business’s website, Jeremy attended Iowa State University where he graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. He taught third grade for several years, which is how he met his wife, Jamie. Jeremy left education to returning to helping on the family farm and work for a local carpenter. He began working for a small family-owned construction company, but realized he was ready for a change. He considered going back to school to become a medical examiner.
“I spoke with the [medical examiner] in my hometown, who also happened to be my physician since birth and he asked me if I had ever thought about being a funeral director,” Jeremy said. “I met with Brent Holland and Eric Coble at Holland-Coble Funeral Home in my hometown, and signed up for classes the next week.”
Jeremy completed his internship with Holland-Coble and did his coursework through the DMACC Mortuary Science Program.
“I was a full time student and working part time with my uncle on the family farm,” he said. “Toward the end of my internship, I began managing Kremer Funeral Home in Eldon and we eventually purchased it.”
Jeremy said he loves his job as funeral home director.
“The most rewarding part of my work is helping people through a process that is extremely difficult,” he said. “Many people don’t think about all of the work and time it takes to go through a funeral process until it happens, sometimes unexpectedly. We have created many friendships throughout the years while working with families. Our goal is to make every family feel like they are a part of our family. We want families to trust that we are taking good care of their loved one as well as their family.”
Jeremy said he loves the Raymond location in downtown Fairfield, and it has been a great building for so many years. At the same time, he could see that the company needed space that the current building couldn’t offer.
“I have dreamed of building a funeral home as long as I have been a funeral director and we knew that updates were necessary. Parking was something we needed to address at our current location,” Jeremy said. “The new building will have a state of the art audio/visual system throughout, and has an open, one level concept. The entire building is roughly 5,500 square feet with the funeral home portion being around 3,600 square feet.”
Jeremy said he and his employees approach their job with the same mindset no matter which of the three towns they’re in: serve the community and care for the families. As the business has grown, Jeremy has added employees, who share his vision and passion.
“I worked for many years alone and as we progressed with the purchase of Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua, I knew that I would need to find someone as a full-time director,” Jeremy said. “I wanted to find someone that approached funeral service and families the same way that I did with a focus on service. I was able to find just that with Ryan Pedrick, who started in March of 2021.”
In addition to owning and operating three funeral homes, Jeremy also sells and sets monuments.
“I was raised on a farm and really enjoy doing manual work, and since I do not have as much time to drive the combine, mow hay, or plant corn and beans, I have compensated a little by setting monuments,” he said. “I enjoy the time I get to be outside and setting stones for families in the fall, summer, and spring.”
In addition to sharing duties at all the locations, Ryan and Jeremy collaborate on monument sales and setting.
“Ryan is not only a coworker but a friend and has been a perfect addition to our team,” Jeremy said.
The funeral home recently hired Juanita Martin as Office Manager.
“She has been exactly what we were looking for, helping with calls, paperwork, and is willing to do whatever is needed,” Jeremy said. “We also couldn’t do it without our support staff that has been with me for many years: Shelley Shelangoski, Kate Jones, and Marvin Story. They have been with me since the beginning. We really want everyone to feel like we are all working together for the same goal, and we have that with this great group.”
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org