Very few people enjoy contemplating the end of life.
Death, while inevitable, is not typically a subject discussed over donuts and coffee. Aside from philosophical discussions you may engage in with your friends regarding the afterlife, what happens to the body after death and making arrangements for the big goodbye shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery. Eric J. Anderson would like to change that.
In late March he became the owner of Hughes-Ransom Mortuaries located in Astoria and Seaside. He’s inviting his Clatsop County neighbors to come in and meet him and tour the facilities.
Anderson, and face to face, please, just call him Eric, was born and raised in Minnesota, the youngest of seven. He’s 100% Norwegian and familiar with Scandinavian culture and heritage. Before making the decision to enter the funeral business, at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mortuary science, Anderson at first thought he would be a schoolteacher.
He entered the funeral and mortuary business after graduation when he moved to Oregon. The Hughes-Ransom family has declared Anderson part of their family business for years. Last year he became a manager, and, this March, the owner.
There are approximately 320 deaths a year in Clatsop County, Anderson said. Eighty percent of people now choose cremation. Cremation does not require or eliminate the need for a funeral service. Traditional, contemporary, even highly individualized services can be planned before or after the cremation process. Services can be as elaborate or as simple as the deceased or their loved ones desire. Options for memorialization are plentiful, ranging from burial of the ashes in an urn to outdoor niches to scattering. Ashes can be dispersed amongst family members or even friends, contained in individualized beautiful handmade boxes to rest on the mantelpiece. Some people choose to inscribe their family member’s name on a tree plaque or park bench.
“It can be whatever you want it to be,” Anderson said.
As more people prefer to take control of their own arrangements, prepaid arrangements or simply putting some plans in place are becoming more prevalent. An important reason for this pragmatic approach to death is pre-arrangement reduces family concerns, including the financial, at the time of the death.
At the very least, Anderson said, it’s beneficial to take the first steps of pre-arrangement by having a conversation with loved ones about one’s wishes.
Having paperwork organized is a plus, as is having the person’s Social Security number. It’s also helpful to know in advance when the time comes, which funeral home you’ll choose. After receiving the call, most bodies are picked up within an hour.
“Do some homework,” Anderson advised.
Anderson sees his primary role as serving families. A family man himself, he is the proud father of three. He said he’s looking forward to having his daughters join him in Seaside this summer. Anderson is experienced in dealing with sudden tragedy. He was one of the funeral directors involved in the 2016 services for fallen Seaside Police Officer Jason Goodding, killed in the line of duty. Not every funeral, he said, is a wholly sad occasion. Many services, he said, instead of mourning, choose to focus on celebrating the life of the person.
The Hughes-Ransom Mortuaries has been a provider of compassionate service in the community for over 100 years. “We proudly and respectfully serve our community and provide the highest level of funeral, cremation and memorial reception services, with the utmost attention to detail,” Anderson said.
He pointed out that in a world full of funeral corporations, Hughes-Ransom remains an independently owned and operated funeral home. Only licensed funeral directors are on staff, and there is no high pressure sales team.
“We encourage you to visit us before making any arrangements,” Anderson said. “We’re here to assist you in your time of need. We offer a range of personalized services to suit your family’s wishes and requirements. Count on us to help you plan a personal, lasting tribute to your loved one. We will carefully guide you through the many decisions that must be made during this challenging time. You’re welcome to call us any time of the day, any day of the week, for immediate assistance, or visit our funeral home in person at your convenience.”
The third weekend in June, Anderson will be hosting an open house at the Seaside location, where he will be available to talk, give tours of the facility, and respond to questions.
For more information about Hughes-Ransom Mortuary, log on to www.hughes-ransom.com.