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Local InterestBelieving in Community... Farley Estes & DowdleBY DEONNE ESTESWhen asked to write an article on the growth and de- velopment of our company, Farley Estes Dowdle Fun- eral Home and Cremation Care, Iwas honored. The business started in 1882 under the care of George Farley and later his son William D. Farley. I won’t go into detail of change from back then until now except that it did move from 37 E. Main Street in 1916 to 105 W. Van Buren St. to our current location 105 Capital Ave., N.E. in 1937. My father Don Estes joined the business in 1952. The funeral home became incorporated in 1967. He eventually became the CEO and was instrumental in the growth of the company. He died in 2008. He instilled in his staff a strong commitment to serving others. My brother-in-law, John Dowdle, joined the funeral business in 1972 and I came on in 1979. John Dowdle is the president of the business and I am secretary-treasurer. We are blessed with a wonderful staff and five caring licensed funeral directors, Ross Schimmel, Jonathon Barnes, Charlie Johnson, Andy Emerson, and Bob Hegerberg. We have always been an independent, family- owned and operated business.The funeral industry in general hasseen changes but the grieving process is the same. People mourn a loss and we are here to help them through the journey. The term “traditional” has changed and I would say traditional is in the eyes of the person/family making the arrangements. This alone is new in that everyone has a different concept on how they want the service to be performed. Such as, families that prefer a funeral ceremony with a burial, to families that prefer cremation with a memorial service, to families that want strictly a direct burial or direct cremation with no ceremony. We are here to guide them through the process. Many are not aware that funeral homes in Michigan are not allowed to own or operate a crematory and all funeral homes in Calhoun County use one of the two crematories located here in Battle Creek. Cremations do have to go through a licensed funeral play their specially selected music in each of the visitation rooms separately. Our website has the capability for friends and family to leave a memorial message or even view a memorial video. We have a coffee lounge/breakroom for our families to be able to bring in refreshments during their visitation. We are constantly updating our services and facility to keep current with the ever- changing times.I have seen significant growth in the preneed side of funeral arrangements. The ability to put your wishes down and possibly go as far as prepaying has been helpful for many who simply want to get their own affairs in order or for those who have a family member who are going into some type of assisted living facility and may need to “spend down” to earn eligibility for Medicaid.Time, along with foresight, has allowed us to have two additional funeral homes to serve our outlying area with one in Augusta and the other in Richland. We are a community business and strongly believe in community involvement. I believe this contributes to the success of our business, a pay it forward sort of philosophy. We continue to keep pace with technology bringing new and innovative ideas for serving our families in an atmosphere that is both caring and comfortable.Technology too has played a significant role with changes. We are equipped to do DVDs (a video tribute of the person being remembered) and audio/video taping of the services for those who may not be able to make it here for the ceremony or simply a means of capturing the moment allowing them to reflect at a later time. Families like to personalize their ceremony and bring in their own pictures and music. We are ableSince 1882105 Capital Ave., NE / 269-962-5527 / www.farleyestesdowdle.comBATTLE CREEK • AUGUSTA • RICHLANDANNUAL REPORT CARD I SCENE 4307 29

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