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Beacon Senior News

Callahan-Edfast: Trust and care when you need it most

Sep 30, 2019 12:22PM ● By Melinda Mawdsley

Gary S. Blackburn, Shawn Conners and Gary Blackburn handle funeral and cremation arrangements at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary & Crematory.

Shawn Conners doesn’t sleep in a tie, but there are times when it would be helpful.

As manager at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary & Crematory, Conners never knows when he’ll get the call to meet a family following the death of a loved one. But when he does, even in the middle of the night, he makes sure to look professional.

“It’s 24/7, 365 days a year. But there is a lot of reward in helping people,” Conners said.

He and colleagues Gary Blackburn and Gary S. Blackburn, a father and son team, handle burials and cremations at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary. The eldest Blackburn has worked there for 35 years.

Dressing the part is just a small gesture the men do to give families peace of mind and reassure them that their deceased loved ones are in courteous, competent hands.

“Callahan has always been honest and upfront with people,” said Blackburn Sr.

Families can expect full disclosure of all prices for services. The three men make sure to treat every friend and family member of the deceased with the utmost care, regardless of their financial situation. These core values have been at the heart of Callahan-Edfast since it opened in 1910.

Nowadays, Callahan-Edfast is a full-service mortuary offering burial and on-site cremation. Services can be held in the mortuary’s chapel or off site. Either way, the staff at Callahan-Edfast will handle the details.

Cremation makes up 75 percent of the mortuary’s business, which Connors attributed to its lower cost and convenience. Family members have the option of witnessing the cremation. Callahan-Edfast will also hold cremated remains for up to 60 days if the family needs time to make arrangements for services.

A funeral followed by an in-ground burial, on the other hand, needs to be done on a more accelerated timetable but remains the preferred choice for some.

Making the decision about cremation or burial may be uncomfortable, but there are people who find solace in verbalizing their choice—and even paying for it—prior to death. It isn’t uncommon for Conners or the Blackburns to meet with individuals and/or family members before a death occurs to make plans and finalize decisions. They suggest people do so if they have the time and desire.

For more information, call 243-2450 or visit them in person at 2515 Patterson Road, Grand Junction.