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 have two adult 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 currently manages the family pre-cast concrete company, Rensselaer Septic Tanks.

    His hobbies include motorcycle riding, weight lifting, camping, cycling, and international travel. As he is a commercially-rated instrument pilot, having flown since 1989.

  • 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.

  • Chris McCauley

    Chris McCauley Funeral Director

  • LeAnne Simmons

    LeAnne Simmons Executive Secretary

    LeAnne is the Executive Secretary for Jackson Funeral Service of DeMotte and Integrity Funeral Service & Cremation of 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 has worked in the funeral service industry for 5 years now, 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.

  • Amanda Schleman

    Amanda Schleman Executive Secretary

    Amanda is the Executive Secretary and bookkeeper for Memory Gardens Cemetery and Rensselaer Septic Tanks. Amanda has been a Rensselaer resident since 2001 and a 2007 Graduate of Rensselaer Central High School. While new to the cemetery and septic business, she worked previously for a manufacturing company as a Receptionist, and later as a buyer in purchasing. Amanda was looking for better career prospects, professional growth, and work opportunities when a friend mentioned an opening with Rensselaer Septic Tanks. She looked into the company and found from word of mouth and research that not only the work atmosphere, but the people are wonderful to work for and with. Going forward she is excited to keep gaining knowledge to assist customers with whatever they may need.
    Amanda resides in Rensselaer with her husband Brandon, son Mathew, and dogs Coda and Chipper.

  • Shellie Dobson

    Shellie Dobson Executive Secretary

  • 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 Dr. Anglis, DDS office in Crown Point. Ann is married to Steve Myers and has three step-sons and 2 grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, boating and fishing. She attends St. Cecilia Catholic Church in DeMotte.

  • 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.

  • Ronald Robinson

    Ronald Robinson Service Assistant

  • Edward Touhy

    Edward Touhy Service Assistant

    Edward joined the staff as a Service Assistant in 2016 “I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity to serve families at one their most difficult times in their lives.” I find the service I do to be very rewarding and gives me a lot to be thankful for each and every day.

    Edward was born in Ireland and emigrated with his family to London England in 1961. He met his wife Margaret there and they were married in 1967. Together they emigrated to the United States in 1971. They were blessed and raised three daughters Bridget, Sarah, and Ann. He has been blessed with ten grandchildren. He is a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church. Edward retired from US Steel Gary works after 34 years.

  • Peggy Michelin

    Peggy Michelin Service Assistant

    Peggy moved to the town of DeMotte from Hammond, Indiana in 1993. She is married to Greg Michelin and has two daughters Rachael and Kimberly. Together, they have two grandsons, four granddaughters and a dog named Walter. She also works full time at the Rensselaer Public Library and participates on a number of boards and commissions for the town of DeMotte. She attends St. Cecilia Catholic Church in DeMotte. Through her organizational skills and leadership, she likes being involved in her community by volunteering for various community events. Peggy also enjoys traveling and discovering new foods.

    She has worked at Jackson’s as a Service Attendant since 2004. "I find it very rewarding to help people during such a difficult time in their lives."

  • Greg Michelin

    Greg Michelin Service Assistant

    Greg moved to the town of DeMotte from Hammond, Indiana in 2006. He is married to Peggy Michelin and has a daughter Jessica and a son Scott. Together, they have 2 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. They also have a dog named Walter. Greg also works for the town of DeMotte. Greg loves to travel and fish in his spare time.

    Greg has worked for Jackson’s as a Service Attendant since 2015. “I am very grateful for this opportunity to help people in their time of sorrow”.

  • Russell Overton

    Russell Overton Service Assistant

  • Phyllis Belstra

    Phyllis Belstra Service Assistant

    Phyllis (Ooms) Belstra joined the staff as a Service Assistant in
    January of 2019. She is a lifelong resident of DeMotte and a 1973
    graduate of KVHS. She and her husband, Bob, have two children, Shannon
    and Rob, daughter-in-law Brandie, three grandchildren and a dog named
    Lucy. They are members of the American Reformed Church in DeMotte.
    Phyllis enjoys spending time with family and friends, working in her part time job at the DeMotte Dairy Queen, camping, fishing, reading and sewing.
    Phyllis and Bob keep the Jackson Funeral Service in DeMotte and
    Integrity Funeral Service & Cremation in Wheatfield clean and ready for
    services.

  • Robert Belstra

    Robert Belstra Service Assistant

    Bob Belstra joined the staff as a Service Assistant in January of 2019.
    Bob grew up in Wheatfield and graduated from KVHS in 1971. He enjoys
    spending time with his family, fishing and hunting. Bob and Phyllis
    keep the Jackson Funeral Service in DeMotte and Integrity Funeral
    Service & Cremation in Wheatfield clean and ready for services.