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4 Tips for Memory Making on the 4th of July

What do you think of when you think of 4th of July? There are fireworks and parades, patriotic songs and speeches, parties and picnics, but what’s the underlying element in all of it? For most people, it’s family. Maybe your favorite Independence Day memory is that time your uncles were shooting off fireworks, and one of them was so big and loud that all the moms and little kids ran inside to hide. Or maybe you remember eating watermelon with your grandfather, seeing how far you could spit the seeds. Whether it’s making an apple pie with Grandma or watching the parade with all the cousins, for most of us the 4th of July will always bring fond memories of childhood fun with family.

Today, things are a little different than they were a generation ago. Families are more spread out and insulated, and it’s likely that your children don’t spend as much time with the extended family as you remember spending when you were a child. This deficit can be painfully driven home when the family experiences a loss. Maybe, as you start making plans for 4th of July this year, you can start to think about those connections, strengthening family bonds while there’s still time, and honoring those you’ve lost by making new memories together.

1. Reach out to family. If you have family nearby, make plans to get together. Maybe you’ll host a barbecue at your house, or a picnic in the park, or maybe you’ll all just plan to meet together for the local parade. The togetherness is the point, so it doesn’t have to be elaborate. If your family lives too far away to get together, send a card or note to commemorate the day. Maybe you can enclose an old photo to remind them of fun times together, or maybe your children can draw pictures to send along. If you’ve recently experienced a loss, that’s an even better reason to reach out to each other, because sharing each other’s sadness can make it more bearable.


2. While talking about our nation’s history, talk to your kids about family history. Every American family has a story to tell about the heroes within it. Maybe your grandfather served in World War 2, or maybe you can trace your roots back further, maybe even to the Revolutionary War! Talk about family members who have passed away, sharing memories of times spent with them. Keep your family’s stories alive by sharing them with your children, and you’ll help them develop a connection to and pride in their family ties.


3. On Independence Day, remember that relying on each other is important, too. In our modern culture, we’re all so independent that we sometimes forget the importance of having people on whom to depend. Teach your children the importance of family, because connections between family members are the bonds that sustain us in the darker times of life. Our nation’s independence couldn’t have been won if people didn’t work together, and families don’t thrive if they don’t nurture their connections.

4. Make something, to make memories. Get the kids to make place cards in red, white and blue. Get them into the kitchen to help layer pound cake with whipped cream and berries. Let them “help” Daddy or Grandpa set up for fireworks or grill the burgers. The best way to make memories with children is to pull them close to you and involve them in what you’re doing. If you’ve recently lost someone dear, remember that person by making their favorite dish or participating in an activity they always loved.


We know that family is important. That’s why we offer resources to help support families, whether they’re grieving a loss or just trying to find ways to connect. Visit our website today, to learn more about how we can help your family. In the meantime, we wish you a meaningful July 4th!

Tenderness in the Spring & Summer

By Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, DM


As I walked through the grocery store I saw all the displays set up for Mother’s Day.  While many are celebrating, we must take good and gentle care of ourselves and be mindful of others when the upcoming holidays might be times of grieving for loved ones who are no longer with us.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day and many other occasions can bring both joy and sorrow. The significant times in a person’s life, times not on everyone’s calendars, can be especially difficult.

These might include:

  • Anniversary of the death
  • Wedding anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Birthdays of other family members
  • Major family occasions such as weddings, baptisms, graduations or other milestones

There are many ways to observe and commemorate these important occasions, such as visiting the final resting place of a family member or finding a visual, verbal or symbolic way to remind others of a special person’s continued presence in the life and history of your family.  Recently, one family shared favorite memories of their loved one.  There was laughter.  There were tears.  And there was relief brought about by sharing feelings honestly and directly.

Knowing that there is no right way or wrong way to grieve, only your way, gives you permission to do what is best for yourself and those close to you. Here are some suggestions…

  • Care for yourself – mind, body & spirit.

Do things that are helpful, nourishing and comforting for you, such as listening to music, having quiet time, enjoying a cup of tea or a bath that can be soothing.

  • Reserve the right to change your mind.

Well-meaning people may extend invitations, and even press us to attend.  Just because someone invites, doesn’t mean our attendance is required.  Care for yourself in terms of how much socializing you can tolerate.  People who truly care will understand if you tell them how you are feeling.

  • Keep some traditions… or create new ones.

Some people wish to do things in the ways they’ve always done them.  This can be the best thing for some, but others might find it helpful to create new traditions or do something completely different.  Exercise your right to grieve in your own way.

  • Acknowledge that life has changed.

Sometimes people don’t want to mention the name of the person who died, thinking that this is easier for us and what we would prefer..  Let people know through your words and actions that it’s OK to speak of the person who died.  Set a place at the table and perhaps place a candle or photograph there that shows that that person’s presence is still felt.

Please know that our care and support continues.  You can reach me at jmcbride@horancares.com or 303-577-6057.  Wishing you peace…

Compassionate Professional Chace Griffin



Chace Griffin is a Funeral Director at our SW Denver/Lakewood location.  He has worked at Horan & McConaty for 2 years.

Why did you choose this career?

I was inspired to enter funeral service after watching my uncle, John Horan, serve families and saw what a huge difference it made in their lives.  I decided to pursue a degree in mortuary science after graduating from CSU.

Why did you choose Horan & McConaty?

I enjoy working at Horan & McConaty because we are family owned and operated and it truly feels that way. The management and staff that work here care for each other.

What is fulfilling about your work?

I feel fulfilled when I get the chance to help a family construct a ceremony that honors their loved one.  I have the opportunity to make a positive impact in people’s lives every day that I come to work.

Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation presents plaque to Horan & McConaty


On April 14th, members of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation and the Aurora Police Department presented the staff of Horan and McConaty Funeral Service with a plaque thanking them for their continued support of fallen officers in Colorado.  When we gathered our staff for this presentation we were surprised to learn that Lt. Steven Redfearn is the man who saved the life of the daughter of our co-worker and Advance Planner Heidi Soudani. Heidi came to the presentation not knowing that Lt. Redfearn would be there and was deeply moved that the man who saved her daughter’s life had come to present an expression of appreciation to Horan & McConaty. Lt. Redfearn made the courageous call on the night of the Aurora Theater shootings to take injured to hospitals in Aurora police vehicles when there were no more ambulances available. Heidi spoke to our staff about what happened that night and her certainty that had Lt. Redfearn not made the courageous call to immediately transport her daughter, she would have died. Michael Wellensiek, my partners Jennifer Sutter McBride and Daren Forbes , our entire team, and I appreciate Lt. Redfearn, Commander Ernie Ortiz, and the important mission of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.  www.coloradofallenheroesmemorial.org



Learn about Queen Victoria’s Funeral


Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire for nearly sixty four years, the second longest reign in British history. She reigned over 450 million people, a quarter of the world’s population at the time, during a period of great industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change, and she was instrumental in reshaping the role of the British monarchy. She escaped death many times, surviving at least six assassination attempts, before passing away in 1901, at eighty one years of age. As you’d expect from someone who’d been accustomed to being in charge for so long, she had her funeral planned out in great detail. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about that funeral:

  • Queen Victoria died at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, and her body was transported to the mainland aboard the royal yacht Alberta.
  • She requested a military funeral, appropriate for a soldier’s daughter, and was the first monarch to have her coffin transported via gun carriage.
  • Inspired by Lord Tennyson to have a “white funeral”, she requested eight white horses to pull her funeral carriage, and a white pall over the coffin. This was extremely innovative, as funerals had previously been traditionally outfitted in black.
  • As her funeral procession traveled through London, crowds thronged the street, silently paying their respects to their beloved queen.
  • At Windsor, the horses broke harness, and as a result, sailors from the Royal Navy pulled her coffin the rest of the way to the chapel. This was, of course, unintended, but became a very moving part of the procession.
  • The queen was interred beside her beloved husband, Prince Albert, and at her request, she was buried with his dressing gown and a plaster cast of his hand. She also asked for a lock of hair from her servant and companion John Brown, and for his photograph to be placed in her hand.

Not every passing is an international event, but at Horan and McConaty, we believe every life deserves to be honored. We came to Denver back in 1890, and set out to start a funeral home that would meet the needs and expectations of families coping with end of life decisions. While Queen Victoria was being honored with an elaborate and historical funeral procession, we were giving the families of Denver the support and care they needed to honor their loved ones in a manner befitting the lives they’d lived.

Today, we continue that tradition of honor and care, and we believe that the best way to make sure your funeral meets your expectations is to plan ahead of time. You may not want eight white horses, but that doesn’t make pre-planning any less important, as a way to ensure that your final services honor your life without burdening your loved ones with difficult decisions. Visit HoranCares.com today, to learn more about what we have to offer, and to request your free pre-planning kit.



Serving all of Denver Metro, since 1890

Horan & McConaty staffs their seven locations with some of the most caring, kind, compassionate, professionals in the industry. The company hasn’t grown just for the sake of growth, but out of a desire to provide care in the areas in which they are needed. It’s all in keeping with the philosophy which started it all, more than 100 years ago.

The story of Horan & McConaty begins in 1890, when the Horan family came to Denver with little more than hopes, dreams, and a team of horses. Their dream was to start a funeral home, because it was what they knew they did best. To them, it was much more than a business; it was a calling. They set out to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of families coping with end of life decisions, doing work with meaning, and building more than just a business.

Today, over a century later, the dreams of the Horan family live on in Horan & McConaty. It’s still family owned, and still runs on one key premise: what’s important is not the business, but the families the business serves. Each person at Horan & McConaty is empowered to do the right thing, giving families what they need, with the freedom which comes from working for a local, family owned business, and not a corporate chain.

For all of those reasons, Horan & McConaty has been recognized by the Denver community in a variety of ways. John Horan has been the chairman of the board of The Denver Hospice since 2003, and he was also president of the Board of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, which his great-grandfather started in 1917.  Additionally, Horan & McConaty has been honored with numerous awards, including service provider of the year.

The kudos which mean the most to the family, though, are the thank you notes and calls they get from customers. This recognition from families they’ve served tells them all they need to know: they’re living up to the dreams of their forebears, and running the business the way those early Horans would’ve wanted, built from the heart.

Meet Advance Planning Advisor Juan Moreno

Juan Moreno is an Advance Planning Advisor at Horan & McConaty’s Central Denver location where you can find him assist families daily with their preplanning needs.

What does “Live Well” mean to you?  I volunteer as a teacher and love watching the little ones grow. (I have a 2 year old.)

Why is it so important to preplan? Planning and paying for your funeral in advance offers you peace of mind knowing your final goodbye will be easier for the people you care about most.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty? At Horan & McConaty we truly care and we really are a part of the community.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? We care that our families are treated with dignity, respect, and honesty.

Call Juan today to start the conversation.  He can be reached at 303-743-8804 or if you’d prefer you can email him at jmoreno@horancares.com.

Cremation Standards at Horan & McConaty

Safe and secure for your peace of mind.

Discover peace of mind with our superior cremation services. When you choose Horan & McConaty for cremation, you’ll take comfort knowing that your loved one will always be in our staff’s compassionate, capable hands. Because we offer cremations at our very own crematory, your loved one never leaves the shelter of our expert care. Our certified, trained professionals handle every step of the cremation process with dignity and respect.

Personal inspections

Additionally, we are the region’s first crematory to encourage each family’s personal inspection of our facilities. We also offer a special viewing room located next to our crematory for those who wish to be present for the start of the cremation.

To learn more or schedule a tour of secure crematory, call 303-745-4418.

A Conversation with Paul Dwyer

Paul Dwyer is an Advance Planning Advisor at Horan & McConaty’s Parker Road facility. He has been in the funeral profession for five years.

What does “Live Well” mean to you?  Living well means using the gifts God gave me to be the best father, husband and friend possible.

What should people should know about you? I am a very artistic, compassionate and humorous person that wants what is best for your family.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty?We are a long time reputable company that is superior to all others in our industry.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? When you need someone to take care of your family in the worst moments of their lives, our compassion and professionalism is second to none in the Denver metro area.

Call Paul today to start the conversation.  He can be reached at 303-743-8804 or if you’d prefer you can email him at pdwyer@horancares.com.


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