Only Latino-owned funeral home in Garfield County opens in Silt
Quite the journey rests between Eleuterio Arredondo and his dream to own his own funeral home.
“I came from Chihuahua, (Mexico)” he said. “Then I worked in the funeral home business for 30 years.”
It all began when he was working as a paramedic for the Red Cross, Arredondo said.
The 48-year-old Chihuahua native said after his time working an ambulance, he was invited to enroll in mortuary school in El Paso, Texas. It was then his love for the trade immediately grew.
“I like to embalm the people,” he said. “I like autopsies, too. I worked with pathologists in Mexico.”
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There are also downsides to the job.
“The kids are harder because my feeling is broken,” Arredondo said. “Yesterday, I buried a kid in Carbondale who was 6 months (old).”
After school in El Paso, Arredondo bounced around New Mexico, working in various funeral homes in Albuquerque, Sante Fe and Espanola before making his way with his family to Glenwood Springs.
“I couldn’t find my place, you know?” Arredondo said. “Now I have this one. I love the valley, I love the mountains.”
It was his nine years working for Farnum Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs, however, that Arredondo realized something special. His Spanish fluency was coming in handy, and he’d become the go-to mortician for Latino clients.
“Some of the people that came to the funeral home were too scared because some of them don’t speak any English,” Arredondo said. “And then I saw them, and I know they’re Latino. I talked to them in Spanish.”
Through this stretch, Arredondo’s name would not only spread throughout Garfield County but other counties throughout the Western Slope, he said.
Little did Arredondo realize his experiences and background would eventually lead him to opening Garfield County’s only Latino-owned funeral home, in Silt. Called Legacy Affordable Funeral Services LLC, it provides traditional funerals, cremations, pre-planning, domestic and international services and burials at all available cemeteries.
But before everything materialized, opening a funeral home for the first time was a tough process, Arredondo said. Accumulating enough money under the strain of only so much time was essential to getting things afoot.
“We have a lot of organizations that support me, in Glenwood and Rifle,” Arredondo said. “And you know what? I put this place in here because the people don’t have any options. The only other option is Farnum.”
Actually, there is another option in Garfield County: the Rifle Funeral Home.
Now, located smack dab in the middle of the Colorado River Valley is Arredondo’s dream.
It’s also a family affair. His daughter, Brenda, works in the office. His children Luis Fernando, Alegandro and Alexis help set up plots in the cemetery during funerals. His wife, Norma, also helps out in the office.
“They support me 100 percent,” Eleuterio Arredondo said.
When he goes home at the end of the day, he said he likes to leave his work at the office.
“When I go home, I like to cook; it relaxes me,” Eleuterio Arredondo said. “I like to cook carne asada, shrimps — just everything — on the grill and relax and watch TV.”
When it comes to the future, Eleuterio still dreams, he still has a vision. He said his plan is to stay in the valley and expand his business.
“I dreamed to (own) my own funeral home for a long time, you know?” he said. “And now I (own) this, and I’m happy.”
What: Legacy Affordable Funeral Services LLC
Where: 701 Main St. Unit B, Silt
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ivan Jackson joined LIFT-UP as its new executive director in August.