Flanner and Buchanan Celebrating all of Life’s Events


Beyond the Roses, Show You Care in a Meaningful Way

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

Years ago, when my little sisters died, neighbors pulled together to reassure our family that we were not alone.  The members of our church came over and brought food, coworkers from my dad’s office sent flowers. Years later when my mother died, neighbors sent notes and flowers.  My dad’s coworkers made donations to the Cancer Society and the church members added us to their prayer list.  When my brother died at 25 in a motorcycle accident everyone seemed to rally at the service.  The funeral home was overloaded with flowers coordinated by the local florist.  My brother didn't attend a local church and truthfully didn’t know his neighbors.  His wife of a year and a half was totally unprepared to make decisions, let alone delegate what to do with over a hundred floral arrangements!


Memorial Options

There are many options to memorialize a loved one. Here is a quilt with family pictures in it.


In a day and age where life runs via email, cell phone, and Facebook pages, there are still some creative solutions available to show you care when family, a friend or a coworker dies.

Did you know you can order food online, create a custom blanket from a cherished family photo, or have a special piece of jewelry affordably created in someone’s honor? Our staff will gladly help you create something special.  You can also check out our service options and even order a meal at www.flannerbuchanan.com.


Memorial Options Necklace

There are various necklaces and keepsakes available to memorialize a loved one.


Want to do something extra special?  Wait a few weeks and offer to help sort through things that the deceased let behind.  Pull together as friends and go on a trip. Plant a tree or something else living that will last the test of time within your community.  Grief doesn’t disappear in a few days.  Show you understand and stay involved.


This is How a Funeral Should Be

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

Basketball funeralI recently had the honor and privilege to serve the family of a well-known basketball coach.  This man first developed a reputation in high school as a player, then later as a coach in college. Our relationship began weeks before his death with a phone inquiry late on a Saturday afternoon.

As with most high-profile individuals there are high expectations for the service as well.

I had about two weeks to plan the funeral with his family. I learned that they weren’t looking for a big production, but a tribute to the full life their father had lived.  I encouraged the family to take control and tell me what would be meaningful.  We looked at various locations, times, and scenarios, but in the end “the kid from the old working class eastside of Indy” as his son stated, would have wanted a low-key church service.

During the funeral, as people spoke of the “fierce competitor” who was respected and adored by many, they were quick to remind all about his humor and humility; traits I know the family were aware of, but needed to hear; the confirmation of a life well lived.

In the end, after the eulogies and hymns, after the hugs, handshakes, and stories reminisced, we took “the coach” to a quiet little spot in the country and laid him to rest. After all the warm accolades from the family for our time, concern, care, encouragement and patience with them, all I could think about was how “this is how a funeral should be.”

A few days later, I met with the son to deliver the death certificates.  We laughed about several things from his dad’s life and even commiserated about our struggling Boston Red Sox.  As we parted ways, he and his wife shared with me their joy about his funeral; he said that it was the first time he had even felt happy after an event such as this.


Andy ClaytonAndy Clayton is a funeral director and is manager of Flanner and Buchanan – Zionsville. He has been helping families tell their stories since he joined the company in 1989.



Getting Parents to Preplan Their Funerals; Lead by Example!

Posted by Barb Milton

I am routinely asked how to get mom or dad to discuss their funeral prearrangements.  It’s really very simple, lead by example.  If you feel it’s time to discuss funeral and cemetery plans with your parents, invite them to go with you as you make your own plan.  Explain why you feel you need to take care of these decisions before need.  Discuss the importance of knowing your options to cover these predictable expenses.

Believe me; no one has regretted planning their funeral in advance. And involving your parents or children makes it even more meaningful.

Being better educated translates into better decisions.  Cemetery and funeral options have expanded over the years. Whether you are choosing cremation, traditional burial or green burial options, it’s a great time to open the conversation with the adults you have always trusted to guide you.

A copy of our general preplanning guide is available on our website.  This basic guide provides a great start for documenting personal plans while helping you and your family collect important paperwork which is often stashed throughout your home. I’m pretty sure mom and dad will take a hint and follow your lead.

There is no time like now to visit with a final expense professional. There may be special programs that your family qualifies for, such as veteran’s benefits or cemetery discounts. Keep your parents active in the conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  An average appointment takes about an hour.  You might want a direct cremation, your spouse a private estate on the hill. Yes, you can have both!

Preplanning does not automatically include prefunding but there are budgeting alternatives available to fit most family incomes, so don’t put it off. The reality is, death comes to all of us no matter what age we are!  Be prepared.

Barbara MiltonAuthor – Barb Milton is the Vice President of Community Relations for Buchanan Group, Inc. Barb’s extensive industry background makes her a preferred guest speaker throughout the country regarding final expense decisions.
Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers


Partnership Helping to Build Championships

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

Long term support by Flanner and Buchanan has motivated Warren Central students to achieve at a higher level

The Warren Central High School Speech Team and Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers are celebrating ten years as partners in education.  Through this partnership these two organizations have endeavored to teach students the vital role that effective communication plays in life.

Since this joint venture began, the Warren speech team has celebrated eleven consecutive Indiana High School Forensic Association Sectional Championships, four IHSFA 3A State Championships and two IHSFA Grand State Championships.

In 2001, Judge Paul Buchanan Jr. and Flanner and Buchanan began providing scholarships annually to six Warren Central High School Speech Team members to attend Western Kentucky University Forensics Camp in Bowling Green, KY.  These scholarships give students the opportunity to spend a week at WKU, a multiple national champion at the collegiate level, to hone their skills in public address and interpretive speaking.  One of these Buchanan Speech Scholars has even gone on to attend WKU on scholarship.

These scholarships recognize students for their hard work and achievements in Speech competition.

In addition to these scholarships Flanner and Buchanan has purchased State Championship rings for team members and sponsored the Warren speech team’s annual awards ceremony to honor and recognize these students’ achievements in the Indiana High School Forensic Association competition.  Though Judge Buchanan passed away in 2008, these scholarships allow the Warren Speech team to honor his memory and serve as one of Judge Buchanan’s many legacies.

-          Written by Scott Black , teacher and speech coach, Warren Central High School



“I want a Cremation” is Just the Starting Point

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

Classica Urn

Several times a week I am given the opportunity to assist families who have had a loss. Part of my responsibility is to see that the service they want and expect is carried out. The only way to uncover their needs is to ask. So often, when I ask what type of service they want, the answer I get is cremation.

Unfortunately, cremation is not an answer, but rather the building block; the foundation of where their service begins. In technical terms, cremation is just a form of final disposition.

As cremation becomes more popular, Flanner and Buchanan is becoming more flexible to meet the needs of their clientele. Rather than a “funeral,” perhaps you lean toward something more celebratory; we can accommodate that. Rather than a “visitation,” you might prefer more of an open house feeling; we can do that as well.

Many of our facilities have spaces that are evolving into event suites, complete with catering and bar service. If a traditional/formal service is not your style, please know that we are ever changing to meet the needs of the people we serve.

Jerry RobertsAuthor - Jerry Roberts is a funeral director and the manager of Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers - Carmel. He has led many of the company’s cremation service initiatives during his 28-year tenure with Flanner and Buchanan.


Learn About Green Burial in Indianapolis

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

So the parade and the Indianapolis 500 aren’t your thing and you have this Saturday morning wide open!  Reservations are still available for coffee and lively conversation at this month’s Green Burial seminar at:

Where:  Washington Park North

2702 Kessler Blvd. West. Dr.

Indianapolis, IN  46220


When:  Saturday, May 28, 2011

9 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.


Green Burial, a natural and environmentally-friendly form of burial, has been a part of the global burial tradition since the beginning of time.  As you may have heard, this approach is gaining interest again. Our informational seminar is an hour in length and will conclude with a tour of Kessler Woods, the natural burial ground located within Washington Park North Cemetery. The public is welcome and CEU’s are available for funeral directors that carry an Indiana license.

To make a reservation or ask for information regarding green burial call Barb at 317-418-6464, or email bmilton@buchanangroup.org .



Funeral Celebration of Life Can Heal

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

We want people to look at their funeral as a celebration, or event. That may sound odd at first, but how many of you have been to a visitation lately where there were:

- many photos around
- a funeral video running on monitors
- funeral music playing
- funeral mementos present

This is a celebration of the deceased’s life, not their death.

My mother died in 1975. We had two evenings of calling, no photos, no music, and she was only 42. It was brutal. People don’t know what to say in many cases when they greet you to extend condolences. I think back on that and wish there had been the opportunity to place photos, to have a funeral DVD, (not invented yet!) etc., that could have celebrated the life she had instead of just mourning her.

Two parents, two different experiences.

When my dad died in 2005 it was very different. We had photos and other memorabilia from his life there. My dad had raced stock cars when he met my mom. I had photos of him standing next to or sitting in some of his race cars. I even had the helmet he was wearing, when three weeks before my parents were to be married, he got upside down on the track and three cars hit him. It cracked his helmet but he came out okay, and he later walked down the aisle to marry my mother. I had that helmet at the visitation.

These items made it easy for folks to talk to me about my dad. Many never knew he raced. Well, my mother told him the night of that accident he had to decide between her, or racing. I’m here to write about it so you know his decision! People didn’t know that story.

Mom and Dad Wedding

It gave people a comfortable way to talk to me about my dad. It gave me an avenue to tell stories about him, which I enjoyed. We celebrated him. We didn’t dwell on his death, we focused on his life.

helmet and gogglesSome people want to sweep the whole event of their funeral away quickly, no visitation, little, or no service.

- Don’t underestimate the power of celebration to heal your loved ones when you die.
- Take stock of your wishes and ask yourself if what you want is what your family would want. The ceremony is for their benefit too.

When planning your funeral think about your hobbies, or the things you love to do, or special events of your life. You might be amazed how people would enjoy knowing about that part of your life.

Author - Don Masten is manager of Our Lady of Peace Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a graduate of Marian University. Don is licensed to sell preneed funerals and represents Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers.


400th Committal At Hamilton Memorial Park

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

“New” cemetery becoming the new tradition in the Westfield and Noblesville area.

Hamilton Memorial Park opened for business October 1997. The first committal was completed on October 11, 1997 after a 16-year-old Westfield High School student tragically died in a car wreck. Her parents desire was for her to be close by and wanted her at this new cemetery called Hamilton Memorial Park. She was temporarily entombed at Washington Park North Cemetery until October when she was brought to Hamilton for her final resting place.

Our 200th committal was completed on January 18, 2006 and the 400th committal May 12th, 2011. He is a US Air Force retired Major and will be laid to rest next to his wife in the Field of Honor-Veterans Section. It is an honor for us to have a veteran as our 400th committal during the month of May.

I would like to remind everyone, Hamilton will be having their annual Veterans Memorial Service on Memorial Day at 9:00 a.m. The service will be approximately 20-25 minutes and all are invited. Bring your lawn chairs.

Dick McDivitt
Manager, Hamilton Memorial Park


Repurpose and Restore

Posted by Barb Milton

repurpose and restoreOver the last eleven years in my position at Buchanan Group I have coordinated numerous company and community-related projects. Projects that directly or indirectly touch thousands of lives. Before it was in vogue to recycle or restore, I am proud to say, we were already doing it.

Recently we’ve been remodeling a number of our facilities. Drapes are coming down, furniture is being reallocated, and electronics are being updated. It has been a whirlwind of redistribution and repurposing. Our old phones were contributed to domestic violence shelters. Excess light fixtures and furniture have headed to Wheeler Mission and the Habitat Restore.

So I encourage you, as you clean your closets and/or garages this season to repurpose those items. Drop me a note and I can help you find a donation solution. Your donations can make a real difference in a community that embraces thousands of homeless or economically challenged families.

Here are some suggestions:
• Remodeling? Excess building products are welcome at the Habitat Restore
• Redecorating? Excess furniture will be welcome by Wheeler, Domestic Shelters, and Goodwill
• Reorganizing? Excess office supplies are welcome at Teacher’s Treasures
o Excess children’s clothing is welcome at numerous homeless shelters
o Old towels are repurposed and welcome by the Humane Societies

I’m proud that our company and staff live the three C’s: Community-Commitment-Compassion. Please join us in our efforts.

Barbara MiltonAuthor – Barb Milton is the Vice President of Community Relations for Buchanan Group, Inc. Barb’s extensive industry background makes her a preferred guest speaker throughout the country regarding final expense decisions.
Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers


Indianapolis’ Oldest Catholic Cemetery Exchanges Roads for Burial Spaces

Posted by Flanner Buchanan

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is proud to announce that ground burial spaces are available once again at Holy Cross St. Joseph Cemetery. After nearly 25 years of being at full ground capacity, the city’s oldest Catholic cemetery has reclaimed roads within the cemetery to add more burial spaces.

catholic cemetery crypts“Families with historic ties to the cemetery now have an option to use the cemetery again,” said Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, a long-time advocate for the cemeteries belonging to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “It’s a rebirth, an opportunity to reestablish a tradition that dates back to the cemetery’s founding in 1862.”

The new burial section is called St. John the Evangelist in honor of the burial section it sits next to. This new area features a “family companion ground burial” system which adds 260 new burial spaces. Each purchaser will be required to buy two spaces. This section was created by reclaiming a cemetery road which intersects with Kelly Street on the northern side of the cemetery.

Also in the works is a new community mausoleum that will sit at the head of the new burial section at the Kelly Street gate. This building will provide an addition 60 above-ground crypt spaces. Final details of this building’s design are still being developed.

“There are some unique features to this new in-ground burial system, said Tim Elson, the Executive Director for the Catholic Cemeteries. It is the driest form of ground burial because a drainage system is built in. So the water that typically destroys a vault over time will be removed, helping to sustain the cemetery.”

“Being able to expand ground burial without acquiring more land is another positive,” said Elson. “We will have less road maintenance in the future plus more burial space, that’s a win-win for the environment.”

St. John Cemetery was established four years after St. John Academy was built in downtown Indianapolis in 1858; Father Auguste Bessonies purchased 18 acres of land two miles south of the city for this new venture. The present rectory of St. John Parrish still stands at 126 W. Georgia Street. The now historic cemetery was first known as the “Irish Graveyard.”

Future sustainability of the site is a priority. “If this program is successful and we have every reason to believe it will be, there are more roads we can look to reclaim,” said Elson.