Charter is the Only Family-Owned Funeral Home, Crematory in Shelby Co., Ala.

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Charter Funeral Home offers clients a personal touch during difficult times.

Of all the funeral homes in Shelby County, only one is locally and family-owned. Charter Funeral Home, established in 1997, also operates the only crematory in Shelby County.

Being a locally and family-owned facility allows Charter Funeral Home and Crematory to provide clients with a special, personal touch.

“We have a friendly, compassionate staff that genuinely cares about our client families and what they are going through,” says Bill Grant, co-owner and president of Charter.

He says part of that personal touch also includes perks that add value to the cost but also bring comfort to the bereaved family.

For example, Charter Funeral Home provides its clients such amenities as complimentary book markers (comprising the obituary and, perhaps, a poem), snacks and beverages, and an ice chest of bottled water and cold compresses at a graveside service on a sweltering day.

“We think we are pretty rare in offering many of these things to families, and we do it because we want to make the family of the deceased as comfortable as possible,” Grant says.

Being independently owned, rather than corporate-owned, brings a certain level of efficiency and immediacy to Charter Funeral Home and Crematory’s clients.

For instance, if a client requests a last-minute change, Charter’s ownership or management can make a decision on the spot. The same scenario at a corporate-owned funeral home could mean that the staff likely would have to call the home office for a final decision, which could delay the process by hours.

“We are right there on site to help families in their time of need in any and every way we possibly can and as quickly as we can,” Grant says. He is glad to be back at work full time after two heart attacks in November 2008 forced him into a part-time role for several months.

Grant, a U.S. military veteran, points out that Charter — which offers both traditional funeral and cremation services — also has firsthand knowledge of military funeral and burial protocol.

As a funeral home with an on-site crematory, Charter is a rarity in the Shelby County area. Having a crematory on site eliminates the cost of transporting the deceased to an off-site facility, a savings that Charter passes along to its clients.

“It’s a value to the family to know that the cremation will take place at the funeral home,” Grant says. “It’s a value in terms of cost, of course, but it also helps with the family’s peace of mind. The family has attained a certain comfort level with our staff, and knowing that those are the same people who will be performing the cremation really means something to the family.”

Cremation Societies

Charter Funeral Home and Crematory shares its roots with the Charter Cremation Society Inc., founded in 1994 as Alabama’s first such organization.

A membership in the Charter Cremation Society assures that your wishes will be made known prior to the time of your passing. Society members also receive discount pricing at the time of need.

As a service to military veterans and their families, Charter Funeral Home and Crematory founded the Veterans Funeral and Cremation Society to offer special discount pricing.

Located near the National Veterans Cemetery in Shelby County, Charter Funeral Home and Crematory promotes the use of veterans cemeteries, which provide burial spaces, burial liners and grave markers at no cost to veterans, their spouses and dependent children.

Charter Funeral Home and Crematory occupies an 11,000-square-foot building on 5.5 acres in Calera that includes a chapel seating approximately 125, two visitation parlors, common seating areas and merchandise display rooms. The grounds include a garden where cremains can be scattered or interred in columbarium niches.

Charter Funeral Home and Crematory (http://www.charterfuneral.com) is located at 2521 U.S. Hwy. 31 S., Calera, Ala., 35040. Phone (205) 621-0800 or (800) 953-5884.

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Chuck Evans
Charter Funeral Home
800-601-6961 ext. 709
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