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2019 Reader’s Choice and Locals Love Us Awards

The Putnam Family of Funeral Homes (Bertram Funeral Home in Bertram, Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls, and Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory in Kingsland) continues to win the local awards for Best In Class. We do so by going above and beyond and because we understand that we have only one opportunity to make this right. Remember our billboard – #YODO? From writing the obituary to personalizing memorial folders and celebrations of life, to introducing grief therapy dogs in training, and offering different funeral home concepts (traditional, contemporary, and familial), and even offering different funeral planning products from final expense policies to prepaid funeral contracts, we do everything we can to advocate for you before, during, and after your time of loss and help you make meaning out of an emotional time. Every employee is also a community volunteer and Putnam supports several local causes and organizations as we believe that investing in our community keeps our community strong. It also enables us to build relationships to better serve you when you need us the most. We are local and family-owned with the ONLY on-site crematory in the Highland Lakes area. Not only do we Keep Your Loved Ones Close and provide Excellence in Remembrance, but Putnam also Cares!  We provide cremation and burial services, celebrations of life, and preplanning services to Horseshoe Bay, Spicewood, Lakeway, Austin, Liberty Hill, Temple, Bertram, Oatmeal, Burnet, Tow, Kingsland, Llano, Highland Haven, Granite Shoals, Cottonwood Shores, Marble Falls, Meadowlakes, Double Horn, Round Mountain, Johnson City, Blanco, Boerne, San Antonio, Fredericksburg and beyond.

Putnam Preplanning and Bereavement Guide

Affordable Cremation and Value Cremation

American consumers are obsessed with finding value, however, they oftentimes confuse value with price or affordability.  We are bombarded with prices everywhere we turn, as quite frankly, a price is so much easier to communicate than a value.  Warren Buffet defines the two by stating that “Price is what you pay and value is what you get.”

So let’s think about that.  You can brew your own coffee in a pot for roughly 30 cents a cup, or you can opt for more convenience and spend more on a Keurig and pods for almost 70 cents a cup, or you can run by a coffee shop and grab a cup for around $3.00 a cup.  The cup of coffee in the pot is the cheapest, but it does not provide the convenience or sense of community that many people value in a more expensive cup of coffee.

And yes, in this era of doing it yourself, you can absolutely build and stain a dining room table made from a piece of 4×8 plywood at a fraction of the cost of either buying one to put together or buying one already assembled and delivered to your door.  Many people find value in choosing the last option as they simply do not have the time or tools to select the wood, measure it, cut it, sand it, and stain it and having to start over if they don’t measure correctly or use too much stain.  And sanding alone is monotonous and physically exhausting.

The same can be said of value or affordable cremation.  What exactly does that mean?  If we look at price alone, all that says is that the price range for cremation is variable.  So, does that mean that you will get the same value between the lower and higher priced cremations?  Absolutely not.

Cremation can be cheap for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the Funeral Home does not own their own crematory and contracts out to a third-party cremation mill for and does not have to pay the overhead associated with running a crematory.  Perhaps the Funeral Home or crematory is a cremation mill and cremated several decedents a year (bulk cremation), which begs the question of whether they have invested in sufficient refrigeration as required by law as well as to the integrity of their quality control and identification procedures. Perhaps the Funeral Home charges more for transportation, refrigeration, or weight of the decedent, which increases the final price. Perhaps the Funeral Home does not aid with the obituary, veteran’s benefits, social security, and death certificates.  Perhaps it only provides cookie cutter service options or none at all.

Cremation can be priced higher for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the Funeral Home owns their own crematory and only cremates for their client families, thus ensuring the integrity of their quality control and identification procedures.  Perhaps the Funeral Home invests in on-site refrigeration to comply with Texas law while also investing in training to better enable their Funeral Directors to empower the consumer and help them build a positive foundation for grief.  Perhaps the Funeral Home includes additional services in its cremation price, such as transportation to and from a wider area, refrigeration, obituary writing, assisting with veteran’s benefits and death certificates, and service personalization options.

When it comes to cremation, just asking for a price will do nothing but give you a number.  In order to find a Funeral Home or cremation provider that offers value, you will have to ask them what they offer for the quoted price.  Too often people base their decision on price and then wind up having to learn how to file for veteran’s benefits and death certificates or publish an obituary or create service folders or tribute videos at a very emotional time in their life when they might have been better off spending more to receive professional and timely results and reduce anxiety.

So whether you are looking at coffee, dining room tables, or even cremation, it is important to understand the value of the services provided and not just the price.

Written by Jessamyn Putnam, Funeral Director at Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, Cremation Advocates by Putnam, and Bertram Funeral Home, serving Llano, Tow, Kingsland, Buchanan Dam, Horseshoe Bay, Cottonwood Shores, Marble Falls, Meadowlakes, Granite Shoals, Highland Haven, Spicewood, Round Mountain, Johnson City, Blanco, Spicewood, Bee Caves, Lakeway, Westlake, Austin, Burnet, Bertram, Oatmeal, Liberty Hill, Smithwick, and the surrounding areas.

Celebration of Life and Funeral Catering Services

People generally think of catering for big life events such as weddings, anniversaries and graduations. These are typically events with set dates that can be planned well in advance. Celebrations of Life and Funerals rarely fall into this category as too often a loved one passes away unexpectedly.  Losing a loved one can be an arduous time for families and Hey Diddle Diddle Catering understands completely. We are collaborating with Putnam Funeral Home, Cremation Advocates by Putnam, and Bertram Funeral Home to support you in your needs for sensitive planning & catering in the Highland Lakes area.

Relieving the Burden of Planning

Whether you are celebrating a joyous occasion or saying farewell to a loved one, food is always a key component of social gatherings. The act of breaking bread and sharing fellowship has been an integral component of ceremonies for many years. However, preparing such a desirable meal for a life celebration and/or funeral can be a difficult, near impossible task for just yourself and immediate family.  In fact, providing food and drinks for guests at the memorial service isn’t likely to be at the top of your to do list. Our professional catering staff at Hey Diddle Diddle is adept at handling all of your hospitality needs in a dignified and efficient manner. This will help relieve the family of the burdens of planning for food and drinks at the funeral and/or memorial service. Our Celebration of Life caterers take care of everything from menu planning – with your input of course – to table settings to final clean up. This allows you to attend to your own needs and the needs of family and friends struggling with the loss of your loved one.

Flexible Food Menu and Beverage Service

We offer a variety of menu and beverage service options for you to choose from or we can customize a menu that suits the needs of your family. We’ll work with you and the Funeral Home to help decide the appropriate catering service for your family and friends and for your budget needs.

Our Celebration of Life menu will cater to whatever needs your family may have. If you don’t see something you’re interested in- just ask. We specialize in special requests and would be happy to accommodate whatever you’re looking for

For more information, please contact us at Hey Diddle Diddle Catering.   We would be honored to serve you in your family’s time of need.

Serving Liberty Hill, Bertram, Oatmeal, Burnet, Marble Falls, Granite Shoals, Highland Haven, Kingsland, Tow, Llano, Buchanan Dam, Horseshoe Bay, Cottonwood Shores, Meadowlakes, Round Mountain, Spicewood and surrounding areas.

Guest blog by Michelle Devaney, Hey Diddle Diddle Catering in Burnet

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body

Join us on Thursday, August 23 from 11:30-12:30 in Suite 204 in the Market on H Building (across from the Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls) for a light lunch and a presentation by the Alzheimer’s Association on Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body.  This is the first in a series of 3 virtual learning seminars on topics related to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Please RSVP to 512-361-6241 or by visiting alz.org/texascapital as seating is limited to 30 people.

Putnam Offers Certified Celebrant Services

Written by Brittany Carrington, our newly certified Funeral Celebrant.

Many have asked me, “What is a Funeral Celebrant?”

A celebrant is a person – male or female, clergy or layperson – who seeks to meet the needs of families during their time of loss by providing a funeral service that is personalized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased.

Having been in the funeral industry since 2008, I have seen my fair share of cookie-cutter funerals. You all know the type! The officiant, having had no contact with the family, comes to the funeral with a pre-formatted order of service, chats with the family for 10 minutes on what songs they will be playing, and walks up to the podium. After introducing himself, he says, “I didn’t know Mrs. Smith, but…” and then continues with an opening prayer, a few songs, reading of the obituary, message, and closing prayer.

I state this example – not out of disrespect for those who officiate services, as in some case the minister was called at the last minute and had no choice – but to emphasize the importance of the role of a Certified Funeral Celebrant.

I recently attended Funeral Celebrant Training in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the training, I sat in a room full of clergy members, funeral directors, chaplains, and other attendees from various professions. We were subjected to the good, the bad and the ugly in funeral service. We discussed some instances where funeral services caused more harm than good and other instances where they were a healing balm to a hurting soul. Obviously, it was our goal to learn how to provide the latter. By the end of the training, we had been educated on the necessary elements of a meaningful funeral service, equipped with tools from other skilled and experienced celebrants and, finally, given the opportunity to practice our newly acquired skills.

This was the frightening part.

We were split into groups of two and assigned a death scenario, such as natural causes, SIDS, cancer, accident, homicide, suicide and overdose, etc. We were to fabricate the name of the decedent, their history, family and other details. Next, we were to create a personalized and meaningful funeral and present it to the class. My partner and I were assigned one of the most difficult death scenarios…suicide.

As we began to fabricate a story about our suicide victim, my partner burst into tears and said his close cousin had committed suicide some years back and it would mean so much if we could create our celebrant service in his honor. At that moment, it became very real for both of us. We were no longer fabricating a funeral, we were honoring a life.

As the details began to unfold, we were planning a service for a 45-year-old Vietnam veteran who had experienced a life-changing event when, one day after he was transferred to a new platoon, his old platoon was wiped out. For the remainder of his life, he struggled with PTSD, guilt, depression and an obsession with danger that landed him in the hospital on several occasions and, once, an extended coma. His injuries led to an opioid addiction that controlled his life and resulted in him losing his family.

It was an extremely difficult task, but my partner and I created a service that honored a life without hiding or brushing over the truth. Instead, we created a safe place for people to feel…to express emotions when words weren’t sufficient…a place to heal.  We acknowledged the pain of those left behind with poems and words of comfort and established the significance of the beloved decedent with a video tribute (all pretend, of course).

According to Doug Manning, the founder of our celebrant training program, “When words fail, ceremony takes over.” Our hypothetical funeral included elements of ceremony with meaningful songs and military honors. All the hypothetical attendees took home a little American Flag in tribute of the deceased that they could either keep in his memory or place on his grave at a later date to show evidence of their visit.

The core message of our service was that…he mattered.

In planning this hypothetical service, my partner and I took the core elements we learned in training and applied them in a way that highlighted the significance of a life and encouraged a healing and safe atmosphere in which the family could cherish memories, express emotions and share in their grief.

My passion is to serve families on a more personal level and offer a service that will lay a solid foundation for their grief journey. It is a common misconception that a viewing and funeral bring “closure.” However, as wisely stated by Doug Manning, the grief process will consist of many “closings,” events that promote healing. There is no magical moment when closure comes and grief is gone. Grief is a process that must be walked through. Many who have been through the grief process can testify to the waves of grief. One minute you are fine and the next minute, you are crying your eyes out. This is normal and contributes to healing.

As a licensed Funeral Director and Certified Funeral Celebrant, I not only orchestrate the business side of the funeral planning process, but I also help the family create a meaningful funeral service that provides a safe atmosphere where people feel permission to grieve and express emotion through song, ceremony and participation. One that ultimately celebrates the significance of a life and honors the reality of a death.

Just like a small droplet in a large body of water will result in far-reaching ripples, each life is significant and deserves to be celebrated for its uniqueness and lasting impact.

©2018 Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, LLC

Getting it Right

When It Really Isn’t Your First Choice: Selecting Cremation Because You Cannot Afford Burial

You walk into a funeral home and what do you find on the price list?  You find that cremation is priced at pennies while burial is in the thousands of dollars and up.  In fact, the gap in pricing continues to grow between cremation and burial as funeral homes use ever decreasing cremation prices as a loss leader to draw in customers and grow their brand recognition while at the same time raising burial rates to offset their financial losses.

Daniel Isard argues in the July 2017 issue of The American Funeral Director, “[funeral homes] should price cremation to cover overhead, just as we do for burial.  We should not tax our burial customers to pay for the discounts given to our cremation consumers.  You can’t tax the 49 percent to offer discounts to offer discounts to the 51 percent.”

While cremation customers might not mind that their cremation is being subsidized by burial customers, they would care if they realized that with upwards of 70% of families choosing cremation, that many funeral homes no longer have enough burial customers to subsidize their lower cremation rates and are having to find ways of cutting costs.  Some funeral home owners and staff work full-time jobs outside of the industry and only open the doors of their funeral home when they are called.  Others use cremation mills, leverage the emotional vulnerability of their client families to oversell products they do not really want or need, illegally solicit customers at or near death, or find other ways to make their lower cremation prices sustainable.

And burial customers, well they should care that they potentially subsidize the cost of someone else’s cremation.  Burial customers are seen as the funeral home’s “cash cow” and funeral directors often leverage the emotional vulnerability of their client to oversell them products to increase the burial cost and bring in more revenue to offset their cremation losses.

At Putnam, cremation is priced as Mr. Isard suggests – fairly and in a way that makes us sustainable in a world of ever increasing rates of cremation.  Our role as a funeral director and cremation advocate is our full-time job.  We own the only crematory in the Highland Lakes area and only cremate for Putnam client families.  At Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls, Burnet county – our focus is on cremation and we are the area cremation experts.  Turning to Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory in Kingsland, Llano county, in addition to being the area cremation experts, we are also able to offer a burial package that includes services in the option price at a lower cost than any other area funeral home – simply because we do not underprice cremation.  No longer do you have to feel forced into cremation because of the price, you can choose it at either of our locations because you want it and you want our level of service. And no longer do you have to choose the minimum or “disposer” level to afford burial – with Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, you will find that burial includes the Putnam service pledge and visitation and service options as an affordable choice.  There is only one opportunity to do this right, so whether you choose burial or cremation, do so for the right reasons and do it with Putnam.

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