After 84 Years Andesonville Funeral Home Closes

The Nelson Funeral Home has been operating out of Andersonville since 1929 when a Swedish funeral director named August Nelson started it. Ever since then, the business has been passed down the family as it serviced locals.

Now the family business is forced to close its Andersonville branch in order to save on costs. There are fewer clients now each year and that is set to go down even further.

In the article by Adeshina Emmanuel for DNAinfo, “Back in the day,” Nelson said, the funeral home expected to serve at least 300 clients a year. In recent years, the number is closer to 100, something she thinks is influenced by Andersonville being a younger, hipper neighborhood with fewer elderly people.

She also said more clients are cutting costs by choosing cremation and avoiding traditional funerals and burials, which can be twice as expensive. In 1985, only about 15 percent of deaths nationwide resulted in cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America. The figure has more than doubled.

“It feels awful,” to leave a place that has been so important to her family, and to Andersonville, Nelson said. But, she said, “it’s time to close the business.”

“We have a place out in Park Ridge that we own, and we’re just renting this place,” Nelson said, citing another Nelson location that opened in 1961. “It’s hard to do — but it’s time to go.”

Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Shepard said Nelson is “part of a diminishing breed of family, locally-owned funeral homes — the kind of folks who are truly caring and engaged.”

You can read the full piece here.

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