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 dedicated his career to the funeral service industry since 1987. To him, providing support to those grappling with loss is not just a job; it's a deeply meaningful calling. Building close, personal connections with the families he assists is something he cherishes, finding solace in guiding them through their most challenging moments.Born and raised in Rensselaer, Craig is a true hometown enthusiast. He completed his high school education at Rensselaer Central High School in 1982. Following this, he pursued higher education at Purdue University, St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, and successfully earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1986.Craig now proudly co-owns Jackson Funeral Chapels, Jackson Monuments, and Memory Gardens of Rensselaer, where he continues his mission of serving the community during their times of need. Beyond his professional life, he actively engages in various community organizations, including the DeMotte-Kankakee Valley Rotary Club, Prairie Lodge #125, F.&A.M., and the Scottish Rite of Indianapolis. His spiritual commitment is evident through his membership at the First Christian Church of Rensselaer.At home, Craig shares his life in Rensselaer with his wife, Lisa. Together, they have raised two remarkable adult children, Connor and Ava. Craig's unwavering dedication to his community and his compassionate approach to his work make him a cherished figure in Rensselaer.

  • Eric C. Jackson

    Eric C. Jackson Funeral Director

    Eric, a dedicated resident of Rensselaer, holds a unique role as the co-owner of Jackson Funeral Chapels, Jackson Monuments, and Memory Gardens. With over three decades of experience as a compassionate funeral director, he finds profound fulfillment in providing unwavering support to individuals during their most challenging moments in life.Eric's journey began in his hometown, where he graduated from Rensselaer Central High School in 1985. He pursued higher education at Ball State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1989, accompanied by an Associate of Arts in Marketing/Retailing. Furthering his commitment to his chosen profession, he graduated from Lynn University in 1990 with an Associate of Science in Mortuary Science.Beyond his dedication to funeral services, Eric's active engagement in his community is commendable. He is a prominent member and past president of the Rensselaer Rotary Club, demonstrating his commitment to the betterment of the local area. Additionally, Eric manages the family's pre-cast concrete company, Rensselaer Septic Tanks, further showcasing his versatility and leadership.Outside of his professional endeavors, Eric leads a rich and diverse life. His interests span a wide spectrum, from the exhilaration of motorcycle riding to the tranquility of camping and the adventure of international travel. Notably, he is a commercially-rated instrument pilot with a passion for aviation that has taken flight since 1989.Eric's multifaceted background, profound dedication to his community, and his compassionate approach to funeral services make him an invaluable asset to both his business and the people he serves.

  • Ariel A. Fischer

    Ariel A. Fischer Funeral Director

    With over a decade of dedicated experience in the Funeral Industry, Ariel stands as a seasoned professional. Holding licenses as a funeral director, embalmer, and crematory operator, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Ariel's compassionate service has touched the lives of families in Lake County, Vanderburgh, Clark, and Jasper, offering them support during their difficult times. Whether through her comforting presence in person or her unwavering availability on call, Ariel remains committed to assisting families in their moments of need.Beyond her professional endeavors, Ariel finds solace and joy in the natural world. She relishes embarking on nature hikes and camping adventures, immersing herself in the beauty of the outdoors. Her adventurous spirit also extends to her love for travel, as she enthusiastically explores new countries and cultures whenever the opportunity arises. At home, Ariel's heart belongs to her feline companions, further highlighting her affinity for the finer, more gentle aspects of life.

  • LeAnne Simmons

    LeAnne Simmons Executive Secretary

    LeAnne serves as the Executive Secretary for two distinguished establishments, Jackson Funeral Service of DeMotte and Integrity Funeral Service & Cremation of Wheatfield. Since 2008, she has been a cherished resident of DeMotte, where she has dedicated herself not only to her professional responsibilities but also to raising her two beloved children, Emma and Evan, alongside their two cherished dogs.A proud graduate of Crown Point High School, Class of 1999, LeAnne has accumulated a wealth of experience in the funeral service industry, amassing eight years of invaluable expertise. Beyond her specialized role, she boasts an impressive 20-year track record in providing exceptional customer service.In her leisure moments, LeAnne treasures the company of friends and family, relishing the joys of boating and swimming in her cherished downtime. As she becomes an integral part of the Jackson family business, she eagerly anticipates the opportunity to broaden her horizons, acquire new knowledge, and forge meaningful connections within the community. LeAnne is genuinely delighted to contribute her skills and enthusiasm to her role in this esteemed organization.

  • Shellie Dobson

    Shellie Dobson Executive Secretary

    When she's not in the office, you'll find Shellie on a thrilling outdoor escapade. Her heart belongs to the great outdoors, where she's often found exploring the wonders of nature. Whether it's gliding across tranquil waters in a kayak or traveling on her next life adventure, she's an adventurer at heart. Her love for outdoor activities knows no bounds, and it's this passion that fuels her zest for life.Within our company, Shellie is not just a colleague; she's family. Her warm and caring nature makes her an invaluable part of our working family. She's always ready with a listening ear, a helping hand, or a kind word to support her coworkers. Her commitment to teamwork and her genuine desire to help others succeed are qualities that make her an indispensable member of our team.

  • Carly DeWees

    Carly DeWees Support Staff

  • Ann Myers

    Ann Myers Service Assistant

    Ann embarked on her journey with us in 2011, taking on the vital role of a Funeral Service Assistant. She passionately embraces her work, finding deep satisfaction in providing support to families during their most challenging moments. Her unwavering dedication stems from a heartfelt desire to make a meaningful difference in people's lives during their times of need.Beyond her compassionate contributions in the funeral service field, Ann's altruistic spirit extends to her role at Dr. Anglis, DDS office in Crown Point, where she continues to make a positive impact on others.In her personal life, Ann is happily married to Steve Myers and is a loving step-mother to three wonderful sons, as well as a doting grandmother to two cherished grandchildren. She treasures moments spent with her extended family and friends, often indulging her love for boating and fishing, seeking solace and joy in the great outdoors.Ann's spiritual journey leads her to St. Cecilia Catholic Church in DeMotte, where she nurtures her faith and finds a sense of community. Her commitment to both her professional and personal responsibilities showcases her compassionate and dedicated nature, making her a valued member of our team.

  • Vicki Robinson

    Vicki Robinson Service Assistant

    Vicki has been a dedicated Funeral Service Attendant at Jackson Funeral Chapels for numerous years, where her compassion and commitment shine through. She wholeheartedly embraces the opportunity to provide comfort and support to individuals during their moments of grief, finding immense fulfillment in this meaningful role.With a marriage that has endured for over forty-five years, Vicki and her husband have nurtured a loving family. They proudly raised two daughters and now find joy in the company of their three cherished grandchildren. Family bonds are at the core of Vicki's life, and she treasures every moment spent with her loved ones.In addition to her family life, Vicki is an active member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, where she finds spiritual nourishment and community. She is also a vibrant contributor to the Ladies' Literary Club, where her engagement reflects her enthusiasm for lifelong learning and connection.Vicki's dedication to both her professional role and her community involvement exemplifies her caring nature and her commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.

  • Ronald Robinson

    Ronald Robinson Service Assistant

  • Edward Touhy

    Edward Touhy Service Assistant

    Edward embarked on his journey as a Service Assistant in 2016, and his profound dedication to serving families during their most challenging times is truly admirable. He approaches his role with a sense of gratitude and humility, finding immense reward in providing support and solace to those in need. Every day, Edward's work fills him with gratitude, reminding him of life's precious moments.Originally hailing from Ireland, Edward's life journey led him to London, England, in 1961, where he crossed paths with his beloved wife, Margaret. Their love story blossomed, culminating in a beautiful marriage in 1967. In pursuit of new horizons, Edward and Margaret emigrated to the United States in 1971, where they built a life together and were blessed with the joy of raising three wonderful daughters, Bridget, Sarah, and Ann. Edward's blessings continued to multiply with the arrival of ten cherished grandchildren, who bring him boundless joy.Edward's faith has been a steadfast anchor in his life, and he is an active member of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, where he finds spiritual fulfillment and a sense of belonging. His dedication extends beyond the spiritual realm, as he dedicated 34 years of his career to US Steel Gary works, a testament to his work ethic and commitment.Edward's life journey is a testament to resilience, love, and the value of service to others. His warmth, gratitude, and unwavering dedication make him an invaluable member of our team and the community he serves.

  • Peggy Michelin

    Peggy Michelin Service Assistant

    Peggy made a significant move from Hammond, Indiana to the welcoming town of DeMotte in 1993. She shares her life with her beloved husband, Greg Michelin, and together, they take pride in their two accomplished daughters, Rachael and Kimberly. The joys of grandparenthood have brought an abundance of happiness to Peggy and Greg, as they cherish their two grandsons, four granddaughters, and their ever-faithful canine companion, Hank.Peggy's professional commitment extends beyond her role at Jackson's, where she has been a dedicated Service Attendant since 2004. Her empathetic nature shines as she supports individuals through the most challenging moments of their lives, finding deep satisfaction in providing comfort and solace.Beyond her work, Peggy leads a dynamic life filled with community engagement and volunteerism. She dedicates her talents to the Rensselaer Public Library, where she works full time, and generously lends her expertise to various boards and commissions within the vibrant DeMotte community. Her spiritual journey finds a home at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in DeMotte, where she nurtures her faith and connection with her community.Peggy's organizational skills and natural leadership qualities make her a valuable asset in the numerous community events she participates in. Her love for exploration and culinary adventures fuels her passion for traveling and discovering new foods, adding a delightful dimension to her multifaceted life.Peggy's compassionate spirit, community involvement, and zest for life make her a cherished member of our team and a beacon of support to those she serves during their most trying times.

  • Greg Michelin

    Greg Michelin Service Assistant

    Greg made a significant transition from Hammond, Indiana, to the inviting town of DeMotte in 2006. He shares his life with his cherished wife, Peggy Michelin, and their family is a source of great pride, including their daughter, Jessica, and son, Scott. Their family has further blossomed with the addition of two grandsons and four granddaughters, who bring joy and laughter into their lives. They also find companionship and warmth in the presence of their beloved pet dogs.During his professional career, Greg dedicated his talents to the Parks Department for the town of DeMotte, contributing to the well-being of the community. Now, in his well-deserved retirement, he delights in exploring new horizons. Greg is an avid traveler, seeking adventure and new experiences, and he finds serenity by casting his line while fishing in his leisure time.Since 2015, Greg has been a cherished member of our team, serving as a dedicated Service Attendant. He approaches his role with a deep sense of gratitude and compassion, recognizing the importance of providing support to individuals during their times of sorrow. His genuine care and commitment are a source of comfort to those he assists.Greg's passion for helping others, paired with his love for travel and the outdoors, makes him a valuable asset to our organization and a compassionate presence in the lives of the families we serve during their most challenging moments.

  • Russell Overton

    Russell Overton Service Assistant

  • Phyllis Belstra

    Phyllis Belstra Service Assistant

    Phyllis (Ooms) Belstra became a valued member of our team in January 2019, assuming the role of Service Assistant. She has deep roots in DeMotte, having spent her entire life in the community. Her educational journey led her to graduate from KVHS in 1973, a testament to her enduring connection to the area.Phyllis's life story is interwoven with the memory of her late husband, Bob, and the love they shared. Together, they nurtured a loving family, with two children, Shannon and Rob, who have grown to become integral parts of her life. The family circle expanded further with the addition of daughter-in-law Brandie and the joy of three cherished grandchildren. Their home is also graced by the presence of a loyal canine companion, Lucy.In addition to her professional responsibilities, Phyllis finds solace and fulfillment in her faith as a member of the First Baptist Church of DeMotte. Her spiritual connection adds depth and purpose to her life.Phyllis's leisure moments are filled with cherished pursuits, including quality time with family and friends, the tranquility of camping, the excitement of fishing, the escape of reading, and the creativity of sewing. Her commitment extends to ensuring that Jackson Funeral Service in DeMotte and Integrity Funeral Service & Cremation in Wheatfield are impeccably maintained, creating a welcoming and comforting atmosphere for all.Phyllis's dedication, warm heart, and commitment to both her role and her community make her an invaluable part of our team, and her vibrant personality brightens the lives of those she serves during their times of need.