By Mary Owen
Weddle Funeral Home has a rich history of family ownership, one that ended in June when Kelly Weddle sold the business to Randy Durig.
“His wife is an Etzel, so it’s staying in the Stayton family, so to speak,” Weddle said.
Weddle loved serving members of the Stayton community and its neighbors, and thanked them for all their loyal support during her ownership of the Third Avenue funeral home and crematorium.
“I’ll miss helping people,” she said. “Handling deaths, especially untimely ones, can be very tough.”
Weddle lived right across the parking lot from the home for more than a decade. Three years ago, she and her husband, J.A. Reith, took two years to build the crematory, the “only one in the area.” Reith had helped her with other aspects of the business for the past five years.
Today, the couple is retiring to an 80-acre spread, “off the utility grid,” in Snowflake, Ariz.
“I didn’t intend to sell, but had to for health reasons,” Weddle said.
According to Weddle, the home had changed hands from founder William Weddle through family members until she bought it from her first husband, Bob Weddle, in 2000 at the time of their divorce.
“When I decided to sell, no one in the family wanted it,” she said.
Weddle believes the new owner and his staff are dedicated to providing quality service that has been the crux of the business since William Weddle first opened its doors in 1916.
As the new staff of Weddle Funeral Services, Janie Woodward and Gale Rockwell agree they are excited about serving the community.
“Between us, we bring 30 years of experience to Weddle’s,” Woodward said. “We both live in the area so working here in Stayton is a perfect fit.”
Woodward went on to say Carmella Miranda, who has worked at the home for almost two years, will remain as office manager. She’s “a great team member, helping keep the transition smooth.”
According to Woodward, Weddle Funeral Services will continue to provide “personal, compassionate and professional care to those in time of need at the death of a loved one.”
Plans are in the works for some new technology and building changes to provide more meaningful funerals or memorial services that will meet each family’s needs, she said.
“One can plan for many things, but most importantly is to plan to always give the most professional and compassionate care at a difficult time,” she said.
Woodward added the chapel accommodates a good size attendance and they are working on
creating a reception area for gatherings.
“The crematorium is state-of-the-art, with spacious surroundings,” she said. “Stay tuned as the changes become a reality. We will let the community know.”
Woodward said Weddle’s staff is “friendly and looking forward to getting to know people.”
“We plan to become involved in community events as well as opening up the funeral home for civic gatherings and just a good cup of coffee,” she added.
She said the staff wants to thank the community for graciously welcoming them and supporting the change in ownership.
“I’d like to invite anyone to stop by and say hi, and to feel free to ask any questions,” she said. “We look forward to meeting you!”