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For more than 100 years, families from all over Jefferson County have been serviced by Olinger Woods Chapel in historic downtown Golden for their mortuary needs.
But on June 30, the funeral home located at 1100 Washington Ave. will close its doors, and merge services with Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery, 7777 W. 29th Ave., in Wheat Ridge.
“It’s disappointing because of the heritage it has in Golden,” said Matt Whaley, Dignity Memorial’s market director for Denver-metro. “But it’s a business decision we had to make.”
And, he added, the patriarch of Coors is buried at Crown Hill, so there is already a tie to Golden.
Dignity Memorial is a provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services. Olinger’s 10 funeral homes, seven cemeteries and one personal care center are included in Dignity Memorial’s nationwide network. Other metro area locations are located in Thornton, Centennial, and two in Denver.
Funeral homes provide a service to a community in a time of need, said Melinda Acevedo, funeral director at Olinger Woods Chapel.
“It’s valuable work to provide comfort, and being able to serve a community when it’s most vulnerable,” she said.
One deciding factor for the merge is the lack of parking in downtown Golden. A funeral can last anywhere between one and four hours, said the Olinger Woods Chapel’s office manager Judy Jacobs, so it’s not ideal for the families that the funeral home serves.
The parking issue is in addition to the fact that the building itself is antiquated and in need of repair, Whaley said. Dignity Memorial will sell the building and is currently working with a local broker, but there is no news on the sale of building yet, Whaley said.
“We’re sad to leave the community,” said Damon Henry, Olinger Woods Chapel’s general manager. “But whatever is next for this building will add to the vibrancy of the city.”
It’s a part of Golden’s heritage, said Jacobs, a Golden resident who has worked at the Olinger Woods Chapel for 10 years.
“Our families are lovely people,” she said. “Often, they’ve come here though generations. We’ll miss their stories.”
The Woods Chapel is a small building with about six rooms, including lobby areas, a reception area that can accommodate about 45 people and a chapel that can host about 100 people. Crown Hill’s chapel can host more than 200 people and its reception area can accommodate about 100 people. In addition, Crown Hill has a pavilion area that can host about 100 people, Jacobs said.
Crown Hill is staffed seven days a week, in comparison to the Woods Chapel’s five, and also offers other modern amenities, Jacobs said. She mentioned state-of-the-art technology, updated furnishings and the building is going through a remodel.
Families with prearranged services are being contacted through letters, and they will have the option to go to any Dignity Memorial facility.
The staff at Woods Chapel will be relocated to surrounding Dignity Memorial locations, so families can still work with the staffer they’ve already established trust with, Jacobs said.
She added that Olinger’s staff would continue to be active in the Golden community, such as participating in the annual Buffalo Bill Days parade.
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