History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Our History

In April of 1944, John S. Jackson, his wife Ruth, and children Bill & Barbara moved to Rensselaer from Tipton, Indiana. John and Ruth purchased the Worland Funeral Home business located at the corner of Washington Street and McKinley Avenue. Then in 1949, they were given the opportunity to buy the W.J. Wright Funeral Chapel and business located at 250 N. McKinley Avenue. The funeral chapel was built in 1941 by Wright. It was then and remains today a very efficient and functional funeral facility. John and Ruth asked the community of Rensselaer to accept their service with only personal experience to offer. Graciously, the community came to recognize the skills and professionalism John and Ruth had to offer.

In 1957, son Bill returned from serving in the United States Navy and joined his father and mother in the family business. With an enthusiastic and refreshing personality, Bill surrounded himself with competent and professional staff and developed a fine reputation of meeting the funeral service needs of Rensselaer and the surrounding area.

In 1987, Bill’s elder son Craig joined the firm and brought new ideas and services to continue the tradition of offering honorable and memorable tributes to those in need.

In May of 1990, construction began on Jackson Funeral Service of DeMotte. The site was chosen with the public in mind and built to fully accommodate everyone. The 5,800 sq. ft. facility with full parking brought professional funeral service back to DeMotte. The success of the new business was tied directly to the support and long time friendship of the respected DeMotte and former funeral professionals Bruce & Adelaide Todd and family.

In 1991, Bills youngest son Eric returned to the family firm and thus completed the third generation of funeral directors of the Jackson Family.

In 2003, Craig and Eric Jackson expanded the business by purchasing the former Wheatfield Pentecostal Church of God building and renovating it to become Jackson Funeral Service of Wheatfield. This facility, which offers families a large chapel area and friendly, comfortable amenities, remains one of the warmest and most professional looking facilities in the area.

Today, we look back across the years, humbly grateful and marveling at our acceptance from the Rensselaer, DeMotte, Roselawn and Wheatfield communities. Their ever increasing support has enabled us to grow, increase in scope and quality the services and facilities which bring comfort at time of need.

So it is now that we look ahead and pledge ourselves to continue to earn that trust so generously given. It shall always be our aim to make fine service even finer.

Our Valued Staff

  • W. Craig Jackson

    W. Craig Jackson Funeral Director

    Craig has been a funeral service professional since 1987. "Providing this service to people who have experienced loss is more of a ministry to me than work. I enjoy the personal relationships I make with the families I serve, and find reward in helping them through a most difficult time."

    Craig is a life long resident of Rensselaer, and graduated from Rensselaer Central High School in 1982. He attended Purdue University, St. Joseph's College, Rensselaer and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1986. Craig is co-owner of Jackson Funeral Chapels, Jackson Monuments & Memory Gardens of Rensselaer. He is a member of the DeMotte-Kankakee Valley Rotary Club, Prairie Lodge #125, F.&A.M., Scottish Rite of Indianapolis, and is a member of the First Christian Church of Rensselaer. He resides in Rensselaer with his wife Lisa and their two children Connor and Ava.

  • Eric C. Jackson

    Eric C. Jackson Funeral Director

    Eric is co-owner of Jackson Funeral Chapels, Jackson Monuments & Memory Gardens of Rensselaer. "Having been a funeral director for over 21 years now, I have had the pleasure of helping many people. Providing genuinely compassionate service to someone at their most difficult time in life offers me great rewards."

    Eric, a life-long resident of Rensselaer, graduated from Rensselaer Central High School in 1985. He graduated from Ball State University in 1989 earning a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and an Associate of Arts in Marketing/Retailing. Then in 1990 he graduated from Lynn University with an Associate of Science in Mortuary Science. Eric is co-owner of Jackson Funeral Chapels, Jackson Monuments & Memory Gardens of Rensselaer. He is a member and past president of the Rensselaer Rotary Club. He has experience in operating different types of businesses; including a movie theater, an oil change & lube business, and pre-cast concrete company with other related services.

    His hobbies include jogging, motorcycle riding, weight lifting, camping, scuba diving, cycling, and international travel. As he is a commercially-rated instrument pilot, having flown since 1989, you can easily add "flying" to that long list of extra-curricular activities.

  • Julie A. Hesson

    Julie A. Hesson Funeral Director

    Julie is a native of Boonville, Indiana where she graduated from Boonville High School in 1991. She attended the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1995. Julie served her internship with Jackson Funeral Chapel in 1996. A licensed funeral director, she holds her life insurance license and is skilled in all aspects of funeral service including monument & memorial design and sales, pre-arrangement counseling and Aftercare follow-up.

    She is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church Rensselaer, Main Street Rensselaer, The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) General Van Rensselaer Chapter, Rotary Club of Rensselaer, SJC Purple Tie Society and a Saint Joseph’s College Fellow, board and current treasurer of The Ralph & Lilian Fendig Summer Theatre for Children Inc., and past treasurer of Tri-Kappa Sorority Beta Upislon.

    Julie resides in Rensselaer with her husband Rodney and their daughter Addison.

  • Henry C. Smith

    Henry C. Smith Funeral Director

    Henry joined the staff of Jackson Funeral Chapels in 2008. "I love being able to help people when they need it most."

    Henry began the pursuit of his life-long dream of a career in funeral service in 1996. He graduated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1999. He served an internship and worked for a nationwide funeral service corporation as a Funeral Director & Embalmer in Indiana and Tennessee. He returned to Indiana in October of 2008 to join the staff at Jackson Funeral Chapels. Henry has a vast range of funeral service experience and knowledge and offers a level of genuine service to the families he serves.

    Henry and his wife Renee have enjoyed becoming a part of Rensselaer, DeMotte and Wheatfield communities. They have two grown children, Ansel and Sherryll and eight grandchildren.

    He is a Deacon at the First Baptist Church in DeMotte, and an active member of KV Rotary, and the Sons of the Civil War.

  • Brooke Kurtz

    Brooke Kurtz Funeral Director

    Brooke is a Licensed Funeral Director, and has been with Jackson Funeral Chapels since 2010. "I love the rewarding aspect of this job. I know many people get tired of hearing me say it, but there's nothing quite as satisfying as helping someone through a tough time. It's the last good thing you can do for the deceased, and their family always appreciates the compassionate care we provide their loved one. It's a good feeling, that you just don't get from many other careers."

    Brooke graduated from Tri-County High School in 2008, and completed her studies at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 2010. In her time away from the funeral home, she loves to play slowpitch softball, basketball, and wakeboarding with her friends.

  • Cay P. Jordan

    Cay P. Jordan Executive Secretary/Bookkeeper

    Cay has been the Executive Secretary for Jackson Funeral Chapels and Jackson Monuments since 1988. "I always strive to calm the anxiousness of our families regarding the paperwork which must be completed. Whether it is visiting with them over the telephone, writing items for publication on behalf of their loved one, contacting insurance companies, or obtaining needed military service documents, I want them to feel the comfort, caring and compassion they so deserve."

    She is a 1971 graduate of Rensselaer Central High School, Business curriculum. Cay is a long time resident of Rensselaer. She and her husband Steve are the parents of three daughters, Kelly (husband, Eric), Cathy (husband, Andy) and Stephanie (husband, Andy) and are grand-parents of eight adorable grandchildren. A member of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Rensselaer, she serves on the Mission committee and helps with the Wednesday night "SEEK"program. Community involvement is important to her. Cay has been a member of Sigma Alpha Chi, Theta Chapter Sorority since 1987; is a member of the Jasper County Extension Board since 2011, the Jasper County 4-H Council since 2006 and has been a volunteer at the Jasper County Fair for more than 25 years. She enjoys being with her family, flower gardening, reading, attending fairs and Purdue sports.

  • Tara Lynch

    Tara Lynch Executive Secretary/Bookkeeper

    Tara is executive secretary and bookkeeper for Memory Gardens of Rensselaer and Rensselaer Eagle Vault and Septic Tanks. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Construction Management, Tara developed a strong knowledge in construction practices to assist customers. Tara specializes in true customer service, representing business owners and believes in building trusting relationships by listening and comprehending each client's unique circumstances. She plays a vital role in day to day operations and takes pride in her attention to detail and organizational skills.

  • LeAnne Simmons

    LeAnne Simmons Secretary/Bookkeeper

    LeAnne is secretary and bookkeeper for Jackson Funeral Service of DeMotte and Wheatfield. LeAnne is a DeMotte resident since 2008. She is raising 2 children, Emma and Evan and has 2 dogs. She is a graduate of Crown Point High School, Class of 1999. LeAnne is new to the funeral service industry, but has over 15 years of customer service experience. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, family, boating, and swimming. She is happy to be welcomed into the Jackson family business and looks forward to learning new things and meeting new people.

  • Diane Doolin

    Diane Doolin Service Assistant

    Diane has been in funeral service for three years. "I feel blessed to have the privelege to be of service to people as they pay their final respects to family and friends. It brings me great satisfaction, and I love to come into the funeral home every day, knowing I will be given an opportunity to help someone."

    She is a graduate of the Purdue University School of Licenesed Practical Nursing. Her last 10 years of Nursing was at the Clinic of Family Medicine as a Staff Nurse, and her speciality in nursing was caring for the elderly, and hospice patients. .

    Diane has been married for forty-three years. They raised two daughters together, and now share the pleasure of spending time with their four grandchildren.

    Her personal interests include making quilts, fishing and camping. She is a life member of Sigma
    Alpha Chi Sorority, and a member of St.Augustine Catholic Church.

  • Ann Myers

    Ann Myers Service Assistant

    Ann joined the staff as a Funeral Service Assistant in 2011. "I truly enjoy my job knowing that I am helping families through one of the most trying times in their lives." Ann's other occupation where she helps others is at Oral Surgery Group in Merrillville. In addition, she attends Ivy Tech of Valparaiso where she is enrolled in the mortuary science program and studying to become a fully licensed funeral director. Ann is married to Steve Myers and has three step-sons. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, boating and fishing. She attends St. Cecilia Catholic Church in DeMotte.

  • Randy Stan

    Randy Stan Service Assistant

    Randy has been a Funeral Service Assistant for three years now. "I never envisioned myself working at a funeral home, but I so enjoy the satisfaction I receive when I help a family through a tough time in their lives. They are always so willing to express their gratitude for what I did for them, and their words really warm my heart."

    Randy is a graduate of East Chicago's Roosevelt High School. Prior to coming to Jackson Funeral Chapels, he was employed as a mantenance weldor for thirty-three years. He also worked for five years as a Union Safety Advocate.

    He has been married for over thirty years. He and his wife Debbie raised two sons, and now enjoy the company of their grandson. Debbie and he share their day-to-day life with two cats, and a Golden Retriever named Grady.

  • Debbie Stan

    Debbie Stan Service Assistant

    Debbie has been a Funeral Service Assistant for eight years now. "I enjoy being able to make the environment clean and hospitable, so that the family can find comfort and ease in their surroundings, if not the situation."

    She is a graduate of Hammond Tech, and was emplyed at Ben Franklin, and as a customer support specialist at Alco.

    Debbie is happily married, with two grown sons, and one grandson.

  • Vicki Robinson

    Vicki Robinson Service Assistant

    Vicky has been a Funeral Service Attendant with Jackson Funeral Chapels for almost two years. " I am very grateful for this opportunity to help people in their time of sorrow. The work, if you can call it that, is very rewarding."

    Vicki has been married for forty-three years. She and her husband raised two daughters, and now they enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren. She is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, and an active member of the Ladies' Literary Club.

  • Peggy Woods

    Peggy Woods Service Assistant