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FAQs

Caring & Affordable Services

FAQs

We’ve provided a list of answers to questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals. If you don't see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us. We'd be happy to give you more information and clarify any of your concerns.

What is a Celebration of Life Center? Is that different from a funeral home?

What is a Celebration of Life Center? Is that different from a funeral home?

The Celebration of Life Center opened in October of 2018. We are a licensed funeral home. Quite simply, we are a funeral home without the words "funeral home" on the sign.

While we operate as a funeral home, we like to think we are a bit different than the other funeral homes in our area. You will find from the moment you enter through our front doors that you are exposed to large rooms, with high, open ceilings and an overall feeling of space around you. No one wants to be cramped in small "boxxy" rooms and we can guarantee you that will not be the case at our state-of-the-art facility.

We also feature a very large outdoor patio where we can hold outdoor services, gatherings, or just relax with your family and friends. A Celebration of Life can be whatever you want it to be. We are here to help you create the perfect, most memorable event possible. We have the space, the technology, the staff, and the talent to do just that. Give us a call or stop in for a tour of our Celebration of Life Center.

Where is the Celebration of Life Center Located?

Where is the Celebration of Life Center Located?

Our new facility is located at 1717 Devney Drive in Altoona, WI 54720.

DIRECTIONS: Follow Hwy 12 into Altoona (from either the east or west). Follow to McCann Drive and turn North on McCann Drive (Note Altoona Family Restaurant is located at this intersection). Follow McCann Drive for one VERY LONG block. Turn right on Devney Drive and go 1/4 mile. You will see us on the right.

Are you a cremation society?

Are you a cremation society?

Although the words “cremation society” are not in our name, we offer all the services a cremation society is known for. Many families we serve have actually come to know us as the Chippewa Valley Cremation Society. It is also worth noting that we provide cremation services outside of the Chippewa Valley as well. We have served many families from all across the state in cities like Marshfield, Hayward, Black River Falls, and also Minneapolis/St. Paul. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center is a licensed funeral home able to conduct business in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In October of 2018 we added our Celebration of Life Center located at 1717 Devney Drive in Altoona. This provides even more options to the families we have been serving since 2010.

Does Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center take care of filing the death certificate?

Does Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center take care of filing the death certificate?

YES. In addition to collecting the information needed and filing the death certificate, we also notify social security, the coroner (if needed), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (if needed).

Do you offer pre-planning and pre-funded funerals & cremation services?

Do you offer pre-planning and pre-funded funerals & cremation services?

Yes. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center can help you with every step of the process all the way to paying for your desired services in advance. By pre-paying (or pre-funding) your services in advance you will "lock in" todays prices for services and merchandise (urns, caskets, burial vaults, etc). We are licensed to write burial insurance through Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company, which deals exclusively with funeral homes pre-planning/pre-funding needs.

Do you offer payment plans for persons that wish to pre-fund their services?

Do you offer payment plans for persons that wish to pre-fund their services?

YES. In most cases one can pre-pay for thier funeral/cremation services over several months/years if desired. All payment plans are set up with Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center and administered through Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company. We would be happy to explain your options in person or over the phone. As with anything when you make multiple payments thier are advantages and disadvantages. We are happy to explain both the pros and cons of "multi-pay" policies to you. The common reason one would not qualify for a multi-payment plan is age and/or poor health.

We also are happy to be able to offer a program called Tribute Loans to each and every family that we serve.  This feature allows a family to set up a payment plan in an at-need situation where a death has occured and the surviving family does not have the monies needed on hand to pay for the servies.  Our staff is happy to assist you in applying for a Tribute Loan in the event your family is in this situation.

Who writes the obituary?

Who writes the obituary?

That is up to you. We are here to assist you with writing an obituary anytime. In most cases we do this at the time of funeral arrangements at our office. If you desire, you can always email an obituary to us and we will submit it to whichever newspapers you desire. Obituaries also are immediately posted on our website (for life) and also on the obituary section at www.weau.com both at no charge to you.

Does Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center offer Catholic funerals or memorial services (Mass of Christian Burial)?

Does Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center offer Catholic funerals or memorial services (Mass of Christian Burial)?

YES. In fact, we are 100% catholic owned & operated. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center can assist you with everything from a traditional Mass of Christian Burial at your catholic church with the deceased casketed remains present, or also a Memorial Mass of Christian Burial, where cremated remains are present at Mass. Burial can either take place immediately following mass or in the days to come if cremation would need to take place following mass.

Some families may desire to have the service at our funeral home, the Celebration of Life Center, in Altoona. We are able to provide full funeral luncheon food & services at our Celebration of Life Center. We serve all faiths, no matter what your traditions or religious beliefs. We are here to serve you in any way we can.

What happens if I dont belong to a church and want to have a funeral/memorial service? Can Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center help me?

What happens if I dont belong to a church and want to have a funeral/memorial service? Can Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center help me?

No church = No problem. With our Celebration of Life Center we are able host services & gatherings at our facility. We can seat well in excess of 200 people comfortably in our main celebration center. In additon we have additional indoor and outdoor seating (when weather appropriate). All areas of our facility are covered by closed-circuit monitors so you can always see what is going on during a service from various spots in our facility.

In addition, we also own Thompson Funeral Home in Bloomer, WI. For those families that live north of Eau Claire in the Bloomer/Chetek/Rice Lake area, our facility is available for you. Please note that fees may vary between facilities.

You can learn more at www.thompsonfuneralhome.com. Rest assured that we are here to advise and inform of the many options available to you.

Can I still have a funeral even though cremation is my choice?

Can I still have a funeral even though cremation is my choice?

YES. What makes cremation so great is that your family has many options when it comes to having a funeral service. Some may want to have an open casket visitation and/or funeral prior to cremation taking place. While others may want to have no viewing prior to cremation, but have a funeral after the cremation takes place (known as a memorial service). In any case, Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center is here and ready to help. We are happy to help you do anything special to help personalize the service to that of the life of the deceased. Most families that select to have an open casket choose to use a rental casket for visitation/service. There is an option of purchasing a cremation orientated casket as well.

I am (or my family member is) on Medicaid and requires Medicaid assistance, can you help?

I am (or my family member is) on Medicaid and requires Medicaid assistance, can you help?

ABSOLUTELY. We are happy to assist you in determining and confirming that you or your loved one is eligible for Medicaid assistance through the State of WI. Assuming one qualifies for burial/cremation assistance from WI Medicaid, there can be UP TO $2500 of assistance available. Please call us at (715) 835-3333 or email info@chippewavalleycremation.com for more information. Due to the State of Wisconsin policies, we are unable to "pre-qualify" if someone is elgible for this program while they are living. However, after the death has occurred, we are then able to determine usually in a matter of minutes if someone is elgible for the Wisconsin Funeral & Cemetery Aide Program (WIFCAP).

Is Chippewa Valley Cremation licensed to practice in Minnesota?

Is Chippewa Valley Cremation licensed to practice in Minnesota?

YES. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center is a licensed funeral service provider in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. This means that if we are serving a family that loses a loved one anywhere in Minnesota, we are able to personally make a removal from any Minnesota Hospital, Nursing Home, etc. Because we are in such close proximately to many of the Twin Cities medical centers, having dual licensure is a good practice and our families take comfort knowing their loved one comes directly into our care, not via another out of state funeral home.

I have a funeral trust/burial policy at another funeral home. Can I transfer the beneficiary of the trust to Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center?

I have a funeral trust/burial policy at another funeral home. Can I transfer the beneficiary of the trust to Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center?

YES. You can transfer the beneficiary of your trust to any funeral home in the U.S.A. Simply give us a call and we can draft the paper work for you to sign. The process is very simple and you do not have to have any contact with the other funeral home from where the trust is being transferred from.

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?

It’s important that you contact the local medical authorities first (as well as the police, if appropriate), and then make sure to give us a call as soon as possible. We will work with you to make the necessary arrangements to get you and your loved one back home as quickly and easily as possible. Calling us will also help you to avoid duplication of efforts and fees.

What do funeral directors do?

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. They provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of visitations and funeral ceremonies, prepare the deceased according to the family’s wishes, and ensure that everything goes according to plan. They also arrange for the removal and transportation of the deceased throughout the process and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. They’re experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss and can provide extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service?

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved one’s hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into meaningful and memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request because you think it might be too “out there” — we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

Definitely! In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one after the service and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way. Whether you’d like to arrange a funeral service before cremation, or wait and hold the service after the cremation, we’re happy to help you design a meaningful service to accompany the cremation.

Why have a viewing?

Why have a viewing?

A viewing — also known as a visitation, wake, or calling hours — can involve an open or closed casket, and is seen as a vital part of the grieving process. Having their loved one present often helps family and friends to accept the reality of their loss, especially for those who may not have seen him or her in a while. The opportunity to come to terms with the death and say a final farewell is an important step on the road to healing.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket viewing.

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death, and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What is the purpose of embalming?

What is the purpose of embalming?

In many cases, if you choose to have a viewing before cremation, embalming may be required. Embalming is a process used to sanitize and temporarily preserve the body of a person who has passed away. It also can enhance the appearance of a person that has suffered damage from an accident or illness. By preserving the body through embalming, we can give you and your family time to make personalized and meaningful arrangements.

Is embalming required by law?

Is embalming required by law?

No. Except in rare circumstances, embalming is not required by law. However, most funeral homes do not permit public viewing without embalming. If you opt to not use embalming, usually we can offer a private viewing prior to cremation with minimal preparation excluding embalming.

How long does the cremation process take?

How long does the cremation process take?

This will vary depending on the individual and the casket or container used, but usually takes about 3-5 hours.

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

Cremation of multiple people at the same time is illegal in the U.S. and many other countries, so the cremation chamber is not designed to hold more than one person at a time. In addition, cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. All necessary paperwork and fees must be completed with local authorities, and then a checklist is completed at the crematory. A metal disk with a unique ID number accompanies your loved one from the time we receive the person throughout the cremation process, and after cremation occurs we attach the metal disk to the bag containing the ashes. Knowing the level of respect and meticulous care with which we treat your loved one, you can rest assured that you are receiving only your loved one’s ashes.

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

In general, the government does not regulate the scattering of ashes. Most public parks, including national parks, ask that you submit a formal request and may have restrictions on where you can scatter. If you wish to scatter on private land, consult the landowner first. In most cases, as long as you do your due diligence about checking for rules beforehand and are considerate, it’s more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

What is a columbarium?

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments, or niches, designed to hold urns.

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and continue to invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know if and when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences, or attended the visitation or service, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their wellbeing. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s best not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit, or suggest that you meet for lunch.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services & Celebration of Life Center
Phone: (715) 835-3333
Fax: (715) 318-9944
1717 Devney Drive, Altoona, WI 54720


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