GRIEF, love, support, comfort, dignity, prayer, devotion, service, care, discipline, sovereignty, mission, task, healing, glory, eternal rest……
These words are why Michael chose funeral service at a young age; to be your guide along your grief journey and is there to listen, understand, and care for you and your family with the upmost tenderness and compassion through the entire healing process. In the words of Oswald Chambers, “As Christians, we consider what we do in the way of Christian work is service.” Ironically my profession is called funeral service. As a funeral director, we should be disciples, devoted to God and His work. After studying at Niagara County Community College, he knew that funeral service was his passion and nothing would stop him. Michael then enrolled in Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse, NY. Simmons was an accredited funeral service trade school, highly ranked in the nation. Prior to graduating from Simmons, one of the funeral homes that he assisted during his education offered him a full-time position. Michael stayed in the Syracuse area for several months and began to feel a “pull, almost a test,” to return to the Niagara Falls area. At first, Michael second guessed his decision to leave Syracuse, but soon realized now that God had other plans. Shortly after returning to Niagara Falls, Michael was given the opportunity to purchase Otto Redanz Funeral Home in the Town of Niagara. To find a funeral home for sale is rare. To find the one you want is almost impossible. Some say at 24 years old he was lucky; Michael says “I was blessed, but God knew well before as he was preparing me for this. Had He told me when my journey began that in 2005 I would be buying a funeral home, I would have checked out possibly. So through discipline, His Mission in His time was revealed and accepted.” He believes his calling is in funeral service and continues to minister grieving families through the funeral home. For him, it's the service…the devotion to service to the family going through a horrible experience and walking them through it. Those in grief need people to guide them and stand with them while they walk through it. They deserve a certain level of dignity and respect and at that time, for Michael, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. At the onset of purchasing the funeral home, he began working hard to set it apart from other local funeral homes. There is an "intense" focus on service, which is what this business is about. In hindsight, Michael does not think that the way other funeral home owners serve the community is wrong, just incomplete. Michael has been asked to speak at many different venues on the tough topics of preplanning funerals and making early preparations for the end of this life. “I feel compelled to share the difficult information I discuss because as a people we plan for everything else, even things that may or may not happen. Death will happen. I need people to know that there is no charge to preplan and also know how very important it is to pre-pay funeral expenses, as assets will be protected.” Michael currently lives in the Town of Niagara with his wife, Laura; three children, Christopher, Addison and Evelyn and a dog, Abby, who is a therapy dog at the funeral home. There is not a day that goes by that Michael doesn’t graciously thank God for all he has been blessed with and trusted with and His sovereignty through it all; Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
As a funeral director and caregiver, walking along side people during their grief journey, I can tell you firsthand, without a doubt, that the grieving process is carried out better when there is a funeral ceremony or at the very least a time for family and friends to gather. It is important to recognize that funerals are for the living…us left behind, that may need that form of closure. Let us never forget the preciousness of a life lived. In our hectic world today it is easy to get caught up in it. Let us slow down, grieve and celebrate....it is the ONLY way to healing. We are talking about a lifetime of love, laughter, tears, friendships and memories.
I fell in love at a very young age. It was not to my wife - that would come later - but to funeral service and the humble dedication of serving others. Throughout middle school, high school and my time at Niagara County Community College, I would assist at my uncle’s funeral home in all aspects of funeral service. After studying at Niagara County Community College, I knew that funeral service was my passion and nothing would stop me. I then enrolled in Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse, NY. Simmons was an accredited funeral service trade school, highly ranked in the nation. Simmons was different from other schools offering a mortuary science program, in which students, beginning the very first day, were given a pager and would report back to the campus when a death occurred; preparing them for the unpredictable demands of funeral service. The students would assist in the care transport from the place of passing, the embalming and any other preparations that needed to take place. Quite often, local funeral homes would hire students to work services and all aspects of funeral service. This is where I excelled. I would soon realize that hours in a class room could never equate to the reality of walking through grief with people that had lost a loved one. I took advantage of all of this. Instead of returning home on the weekends, I was given a permanent pager by the school. As a result, upon graduating, I was awarded several awards in recognition for my hands-on experience at the school itself and for the many extra hours employed by local funeral homes. Prior to graduating from Simmons, one of the funeral homes that I assisted during my education offered me a full-time position. I stayed in the Syracuse area for several months and returned to the Niagara Falls area to be closer with my family. At first, I second guessed my decision to leave Syracuse, but soon realized that God had other plans. Shortly after returning to Niagara Falls, I was given the opportunity to purchase Otto Redanz Funeral Home in the Town of Niagara. To find a funeral home for sale is rare. To find the one you want is almost impossible. Some say at 24 years old I was lucky; I say I was blessed. I believe my calling is in funeral service and continue to minister grieving families through the funeral home. For me, it's the service ... service to the family going through a horrible experience and walking them through it. Those in grief need people to guide them and stand with them while they walk through it. They deserve a certain level of dignity and respect and at that time, for me, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.
At the onset of purchasing the funeral home, I began working hard to set it apart from other local funeral homes. There is an "intense" focus on service, which is what this business is about. In hindsight, I do not think that the way other funeral home owners serve the community is wrong, I feel they are incomplete. There is more to funeral service than just arranging a funeral. We go to great lengths to serve families. I have listened for the things that are important to the families I serve and made adjustments or additions along the way. Now we sit in 2023 and the needs of the families we serve have changed, so I simply evolve with them, accommodating every possible need. Myself and my staff literally take care of everything for you. From arranging the funeral to whatever needs to be done to assist in celebrating a life once lived and ultimately being intricate in the beginning stages of the healing process; and after the funeral…..we are still there to continue to serve you in every capacity.
Moving forward, I am putting in a pet loss area and plans are being discussed to integrate new technologies throughout the property and expand or modernize certain areas of the home to better serve the community, including a current available hospitality room (now that food and drink are legal in funeral homes). Recently, I installed an arrangement suite; a more comfortable area for families to discuss funeral arrangements. I believe that the families we serve feel much more at ease and realize that I am just another person, like themselves, helping and walking right along with them on their journey. Sometimes in this world, we need another person to lean on, and I am happy to be that person.
In 2015, we developed our mission statement to briefly define us and set us apart; Our Mission is to continue, after over 90 years of Christian Service, to be the leading funeral and cremation caregivers and preplanning specialists, faithfully providing the highest quality standard of service, with dignity, integrity and professionalism that you, all made in the image of God, deserve and expect, regardless of financial backgrounds, while honoring and glorifying God in ALL we do, by the loving care we provide through the Holy Spirit.
Today, I live in the Town of Niagara with my supporting and loving wife, and Niagara County Coroner, Laura Sweney-Goodlander and my three children, Christopher, Addison and Evelyn, who, in hopes, would continue my dedication to funeral service and follow in my footsteps.
In closing, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t graciously thank God for His movement and His sovereignty in my life. This business of funeral service is not about me, but about serving people, His people, serving others and most importantly bringing Glory to God; putting Jesus, His Grace, Mercy, Comfort, promises, Sovereignty, Loving Nature, and His Power on display; magnifying Him. My life-verse, that I don’t try to define it, but that it defines me; Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life-1 Timothy 1:15-16. as well as “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5
When a loved one passes away know that only Otto Redanz Funeral Home keeps your loved one in our care through the entire process. All funeral homes offer cremation, but the comfort and assurance we provide by the deceased NEVER leaving our care is beyond comparison. Please feel free to call me to discuss this process.
In discussion with families we serve and colleagues, I have discovered that the pricing of funeral and cremation services that funeral homes provide are not transparent or change when the family walks in the door. Speaking for my funeral home, I am always upfront and honest when giving a quote for any type of funeral or cremation. There are other costs involved that have nothing to do with the funeral home that should be disclosed when the discussion of price begins. What some providers are doing is misleading you, the consumer and grieving, and telling you what their charges are, but leaving out the charges that also need to be paid (ex. cemetery, obituaries, certified death certificates, the crematory etc.). Essentially “low balling,” giving you a price and not educating you on what needs to take place or what the funeral director will need or what other charges may be incurred. To me, this is mis-leading and a disgrace to the profession of funeral service. When you call me, you are given an honest price, including the “extras” and explained everything that needs and will take place in complete detail. For example, I hear all the time…. “we just want you to take mom to the crematory…..” I then spend a while with you on the phone explaining that it is not that simple and make an appointment to slowly and in detail to discuss face to face. We funeral directors should be educating each caller. These people have just lost a loved one or are about to and are not thinking clearly. If price shopping, always ask to see (however you should not have to ask) a general price list. That general price list must be given to you at the onset of arrangements and should not be altered. Some are using strategic methods to “get you in the door.” When you come their charges have changed. As an honest, Christian provider of funeral service, my advice is be careful. Ask questions. With me, everything is transparent and a non-issue. Please call me personally with any questions or concerns. 716-297-9007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As a funeral director and caregiver, walking along side people during their grief journey, I can tell you firsthand, without a doubt, that the grieving process is carried out better when there is a funeral ceremony or at the very least a time for family and friends to gather. It is important to recognize that funerals are for the living…us left behind. It has been studied and proven that through the funeral process, a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.
Traditionally, funerals have consisted of calling hours with an open or closed casket, a funeral at the funeral home or place of worship, followed by committal prayers and interment at the cemetery. Cremation has also been an option for many, many, many years. However, cremation is just another form of disposition-the end result of our “earthly shell.” Somewhere along the way things got misinterpreted and started a trend!! It somehow became an “either/or” decision. When talking to people about their wishes, I commonly only hear one of two requests; 1-a traditional funeral or 2-cremation. The problem began, for one, due to the lack of education on the topic of the value of a funeral and that’s where us funeral directors have failed you. However there is another issue that I hear first hand; funeral professionals poorly preparing the decedent. Mortuary Science is an art above all and unfortunately poor preparation and cosmetic work has led to a rise in cremation. Hear me out...does it make sense that your loved one had a terminal illness, lost half of his/her body mass, was hooked up to every tube that you could barely see his/her face, was in a traumatic accident then you walk into the funeral home for the first viewing and he/she looks worse than at the worst part of their life. Does this make any sense??My talent is to recreate your loved ones appearance to before the illness or trauma as a part of the grief journey and healing process and to provide you comfort. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This is the point of this letter to you; to educate, to “comfort” my community and to bring back the traditional values. Traditional funerals, I have found, give the family and others better closure PERIOD!!!! When you go to a funeral home and there are just pictures, you may feel disappointed that you couldn’t say good-bye and are left with unanswered “what ifs.” Cremation, mixed with traditional values, as it was intended to be, can also provide the same closure us humans need. There are literally so many variations to service options and I can guide you in a way to meet your needs. With cremation, calling hours with or without a viewing with a funeral service at the funeral home or place of worship is an option keeping the traditional values. After the funeral service, the deceased is then cremated (or in some cases has been cremated before services) and the cremains are then returned to the family or can be buried or inurned in a cemetery or niche, giving the survivors a place to go to honor and memorialize the deceased person helping with the healing process. See with cremation, the only thing that needs to change is the disposition, that the body was cremated. The funeral home still provides the same services and professionalism. Everything else can be the same and the beauty in a funeral is still obtainable.
So it seems today, one of the issues is cost and I completely understand. Of course COST matters to everyone!!! Anytime cremation is chosen, anywhere in the equation, the end result is lesser cost, we all know that. But if I can make a positive lasting vision of restoring your loved ones appearance, why wouldn’t you opt for that option? An option to say goodbye one last time. That time of a final goodbye you will never regret, but you may regret not. Trust me, regret mixed with grief is a dangerous combination. Listen, we never turn anyone away, regardless of financial circumstances. Yes we are a business, but more over a ministry. I am here to serve and am honored when you choose me to do so. I have access to many different resources to allow families to grieve the way they need to with the funeral service type selected keeping finances at the forefront. Listen, it always works out somehow. I faithfully believe, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We don’t require money upfront. My true concern is YOU, YOUR family, YOUR WELL-BEING, YOUR journey of grief and YOUR healing......whatever it takes. This is my promise to you. I encourage you to give me a call if I can answer any of your questions or concerns.
May the God who loves you, bless you and console you always,