Spotlight on Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home & Crematory – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Marlene "Marty" Shoemaker is the co-owner & operator of Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home & Crematory in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She shared her experiences with running a successful funeral home that has been around since 1905.

How was your funeral home founded, and how does it operate today?

The history of the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home is one of caring, dedication, respect, integrity, honesty and fair dealings. It all began in 1905 when Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Weller came to Cuyahoga Falls to start their own funeral business. In 1958 the Weller Funeral Home was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. William Clifford and renamed the Clifford Funeral Home. In 1979 Ken & Marlene Shoemaker, Clifford’s son-in-law and daughter, joined the business. In 1989 the name was changed to Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home. Today our funeral home continues to be family-owned and -operated under the direction of Ken & Marlene’s son, Steve Shoemaker, carrying on as a third generation family business.

Why do you believe funeral service is important?

Funeral service allows us to honor the deceased with dignity and respect. We as funeral directors are also able to relieve the family of many of the overwhelming tasks people experience with the loss of a loved one. We feel honored that people trust us to care for their most beloved family members at such a delicate time.

What is the most rewarding part of working in funeral service?

The gratitude and appreciation we receive after serving a family.

What makes your funeral home unique?

Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home & Crematory is deeply rooted in the Cuyahoga Falls area, and we love being a part of this community. While we serve families from all over the Summit County (and beyond) area, our single location firm has been a fixture in the local area. Clifford’s Mini Antique Car Museum also sets our firm apart from others. We love that we can connect with the community in a unique way with the classic cars.

What does your funeral home do in order to create a strong community presence? Do you believe that this is important?

For many years, our annual calendar has featured classic cars. During the pandemic, the theme for the calendar was switched to historic Cuyahoga Falls photos, with many of the photos having classic cars in the photos. These calendars, along with the museum, have blessed us to create a strong community presence as we often drive the cars in the annual Memorial Day parade. We also reach out to the community to provide us photos of their classic cars or take photos of their car for our annual calendar. The museum is open to the public for tours throughout the year, and on the evenings of the car shows in our local community. Our friendly staff enjoys sitting out in front of the museum ready to “shoot the breeze” about nostalgic moments, or even cars!

In what ways do you use technology to further the services you offer?

With the arrival of pandemic protocols, we were tasked with brushing up on our technology skills. We offer families the option of recording the services and placing it on our website for those not able to attend.

What growing trends have you noticed in the funeral service profession? How do you keep up with these changes?

Over the years, the cremation rate has certainly increased. In 2012, we saw the need and added an on-site crematory.

What do you value most about OGR? Why did you become a member?

The bronze OGR plaque that has been affixed to the outside of our funeral home building since 1959 means something to us here at Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home. Our staff truly cares about the families we serve, and we try to carry out our daily operations with the mindset of treating others how we would like to be treated. OGR also has many great professional resources.

Is there anything in particular that you do at work to keep your spirits high or the spirits of your staff high?

We have a wonderful and close-knit staff. Jan Bethel, Kristen Carbary and Floyd Wimer are our full-timers. The entire staff are dedicated professionals offering all families the same high-quality level of caring, professional service as they have over our 100+ years.

This message was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of The Independent®. Click here to read the entire issue.

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