Southeast WI Archive
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • May 2015
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Jane makes her ultimate wishes known for her family — Northwoods Casket Company’s mission makes funeral preplanning an easy decision

Being a mom in my early 40s, thinking about planning my funeral was scary. I want to be alive forever, and be a part of my 8-year-old daughter’s life to share all of her special moments. I know it’s not possible, so the next big thing for me was to think about her and how I could make my death easier. It wouldn’t be fair to make her go through all of it alone, so I wanted to make my wishes known.

I already had my will, life insurance and living will in place and I felt very prepared and thought I was on track. These seem to be the things we think about as parents. But after speaking with Northwoods Casket Company, I realized I needed to do a lot more work to make my funeral planning easier on my family.

First, I visited a local funeral home and discussed some of my wishes with the funeral director. There are so many decisions to be made; it’s difficult to know where to start. I knew for sure is I want to be buried, and also donate any organs that can be used.

Growing up being a part of a church, I know I want a pastor involved and for the funeral to be held at my church. Visitation will be before the service and the casket will be closed. I would like my family and friends to share memories of my life by telling stories during the ceremony. Another specific request I have is that I would like to have someone sing “Tears in Heaven,” by Eric Clapton and have a family member read, “Gone from my Sight,” by Henry Van Dyke.

There will be a procession to the cemetery for just family and the pastor. The celebration portion seemed to be easier for me to think about. I truly want my family and friends to enjoy the memories they have of me. I want to have it at an Italian restaurant, with a lot of food, and of course pizza. I want uplifting music and wine, and for my loved ones to share all the memories of my life.

After visiting my funeral director, I visited Northwoods Casket Company in Beaver Dam. I believe in helping the environment in any way I can, and that’s why this business chose me rather than the other way around. It first caught my attention because they plant 100 trees for every casket they build! One of the reasons I decided to preplan is also because of their pledge: Plant It Forward. Because I went through the process, Northwoods will plant those 100 trees during my lifetime. I love this!

When I arrived, owner Jonas Zahn welcomed me and put me at ease. He walked me around the showroom and told me about all the caskets. He also gave me time on my own to explore and find a casket that best fit me. I was amazed at all the handcrafted wooden caskets and that they use local lumber. Knowing funerals are expensive, I was very curious on the cost of each casket. They were priced very reasonably. I am still amazed at how beautiful the caskets were.

I chose a casket called the The Naturalist in the finish Winter Forest. I loved that this pine casket is made from locally sourced, sustainable, Wisconsin pine. Finished in natural tree oils, including Tung, Walnut, and Carnauba and a blend of beeswax for a final finish both pleasant on the eyes and to the touch. The inside is upholstered with natural cotton in brown tones inspired by the winter forests of Wisconsin. I picked this because it reminds me of being up at our cabin in Minocqua and the special memories of winter times with my family. There is a casket that will suit everyone’s needs and wants at Northwoods Casket Company. I simply have to let my funeral director know which casket I chose, and the process is finished. It was not as painful as I thought it would be!

I would highly recommend anyone preplan their funeral. I was hesitant at first, but now I feel relieved that I am able to provide my family, especially my daughter, with all of my wishes to make the process easier during an understandably hard time. I am so glad to have met Jonas. He helped me with this process so much, not to mention provided me with the ideal casket that means something to me and has significance in my life and memories.

To pledge to preplan your funeral, visit

Northwoods Casket Company

109 N. Lincoln Ave., Beaver Dam


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