Croxford Funeral Home’s rich heritage spans more than 88 years, and generations of locals know the iconic English Tudor style building which sits as a historic landmark on Central Avenue. While Croxford’s staff continue their dedicated service to those preparing final tributes, they are expanding their community role by offering a place to celebrate all types of occasions.
The Croxford family built what is now considered the most beautiful older funeral home in Montana and opened their doors in 1931. They also made it their family home, raising their children there, and hosting an array of typical family gatherings and festivities along the way. According to co-owner Maggie Kent, “It naturally functioned in the same way that many family homes do—by accommodating all of life’s celebrations.”
Restoring the Home to its Original Intent
When Maggie and husband Drew Kent purchased the funeral home in 2015, they embarked on a room-by-room repair and restoration project. When it came time to renovate the elegant Rose Room Chapel, with its vaulted ceilings and original hand-painted wood beams, they looked to its history and discovered that this now pew-filled room had once been a big, open space that would be set according to the purpose of the gathering. Rather than take on the cost-prohibitive endeavor of mending many broken pews, they made the decision to return it to its original intent.
Through the chapel renovation, the Kents envisioned a greater potential and versatility for the home. In the past, part of their funeral planning involved assisting families with locating an outside venue for after-service gatherings. Through this process, Kent says, “We identified a need within our community for a nice, affordable space in which to unite friends and family.” The Rose Room augments their capacity to host all funeral arrangements under their own roof, while positioning them to provide an affordable, yet exquisitely beautiful gathering place for other types of events.
The Kents see this complementary role as a natural progression and fit. Not only has the funeral home hosted many family celebrations through the years, the staff has played an integral part in the lives of their friends and neighbors. “Our staff really enjoys helping people. On a day-to-day basis, we help people in their hardest times. We also get a lot of joy from assisting in happy occasions,” says Kent. They’re often asked to create tributes for graduations, anniversaries, and birthdays; it just makes sense to host those events as well.
Many have crossed the funeral home’s threshold in times of sorrow, yet few spend their joyous moments there, too often leaving the feeling that the place itself is something to be feared. The Kents believe it’s key to shift that perspective. “People tend to associate the building with their fear of death. So many people have told me that they’ve been scared to come in here and when they finally do, they can’t believe how beautiful it is,” says Kent.
She stresses the importance of helping folks see the home as a place of security before they are faced with the passing of a loved one. “It’s natural for people to want to hide from death, but we really can’t avoid it. It is very much a part of life. So, we want to do anything we can to help our community greet it in a healthy manner,” Kent explains. “When a death occurs, we get to know people deeply, in a unique way. We really want to strengthen those relationships now, so that it might feel more natural to come in here during the hard times.” Sharing in all of life’s milestones is one way to elevate the level of comfort that people feel with both the staff and the location.
The Perfect Gathering Space
Typically, it falls to churches to try to fill the gaps when it comes to finding suitable, available meeting spaces, taking on everything from funeral receptions to family gatherings to community events. The folks at Croxford are ready to share that role by welcoming everyone for many more of life’s meaningful moments. As Kent sums it up, “Sometimes your own home isn’t big enough for all of your family gatherings, but our home is.”
Few places offer both the spacious elegance of the Rose Room Chapel and the dedicated service of its hosts. The beauty of the building, inside and out, offers an unrivaled setting, while the chapel’s unique versatility allows a tailored setup for each event. There are selected hours of availability for non-funeral reservations, and the staff is accustomed to and excels at quick accommodations. They are experienced with all necessary provisions, including banners, announcement cards, video tributes, and most requested items. Anyone interested in finding out more information is encouraged call 406-453-0315.
1307 Central Ave
Great Falls, MT 59401
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