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Ellison Memorial reaches 10-year milestone

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Ellison Memorial Funeral Home marked its 10th Anniversary this month.

Plans to commemorate the anniversary with the community were canceled amidst COVID-19 concerns.

However, the company will be holding its annual service of remembrance next month.

In 2010, Aaron Ellison and Tim Mims founded what would become Ellison Memorial Funeral Home on Nov. 15.

“We opened as Ellison Mims Funeral Home,” Ellison said.

In 2012, the name was changed to Ellison Cleckler when Troy Cleckler replaced Mims. The current name was selected when Cleckler retired in 2014.

“I expanded in 2016 to another location in Calera, Shelby Memory Gardens,” Ellison said.

Ellison is Ellison Memorial Funeral Home’s only full-time funeral director. The staff includes a part-time funeral director Ray Miller, secretary Amelia Hubbard and a funeral assistant Rob West.

The building where the funeral home is located was built in the 1970s. It was a funeral home until 1992, then it was vacant for a while before a church began using the building, Ellison said.

“In 2010, the church had made the decision to relocate about the time that we were looking for a location to open a funeral home,” Ellison said. “This building still for the most part was just suited for that (a funeral home).”

The location is seen as convenient for those who may have family coming from out-of-town because of how close it is to the interstate.

There were some improvements made to better suit a funeral home.

In 2017, upgrades were made to the chapel area.

“It was a complete overhaul — added upgraded sound and audio/visual and more comfortable seating,” Ellison said.

An area for family members to take a break from visitation and get a snack from a vending machine was added later.

“It’s a good time now that we have reached this milestone to look back and see the trust that the community has placed in us,” Ellison said. “Right now, we are serving an average of about 200 families a year … It is a blessing to be here and serve the community.”

The funeral home holds a remembrance service each year in December.

“All of the families that we’ve served are invited to come in for a candlelight remembrance service in our chapel,” Ellison said. “We provide each family with a gift as a small way to say we are still thinking about them at that time of the year, and we appreciate them calling on us in their hour of need.”

He said the service is a way to help families face that first holiday season without their loved one.

“We have a minister who comes in and shares a devotion,” Ellison said. “We have a candlelight service and then we provide light refreshments.”

Ellison said this year, it will be the only service some were able to have for their loved one because funerals were unable to be held during COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions.

Ellison said the company’s focus has been on being “passionate, dignified and affordable” while serving the community.

The plan is to continue this focus in the future.