About the Author
Joseph G. Kalmer’s formal funeral service education and training can be described as a “baptism of fire”. Learning the funeral industry in Chicago is as about as real as it gets, and it started on day one. From living in the basement of a west-side funeral home to working in the Cook County Morgue one day a week, he learned in a hurry that a small-town kid from southern Illinois can make it in this business if he can stomach “the smell of death” literally 24 hours a day.
Joe has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for 23 years. He is the former owner and operator of Pletcher Funeral Home in Edwardsville, IL, the type of funeral home he refers to as a “traditional” home. Which by today’s standards, goes back a few years. Much to the chagrin of his wife, Cheryl, their living quarters were above the funeral home, with the master bedroom directly above the casketed remains in the chapel below.
Joe recognized the changes affecting the funeral industry such as a rise in cremation and other “less traditional” forms of service. He realized that someday it would be difficult to make a living competing with three other local funeral homes for the 200 annual deaths occurring in his community. So he opted, himself, for a change.
Welcome to his “cremation society” and “discount funeral home”. Unlike the days of yesteryear, he is giving the consumers not only the choices they so demanded, but at a price they all can afford. Although he doesn’t apologize for the high cost of funerals, he shows you how cremations can cost less than $1000 and casketed funerals can cost less than $5000, never sacrificing the professionalism and dignity everyone deserves.
Joe lives in Edwardsville, Illinois with his wife and two daughters.