While planning due to the loss of a loved one or for our own departure can feel daunting, it doesn't have to be, according to Richard Kelley-Dixon, the owner-operator of the newly established 4-States Cremation Society.
MIAMI - It is a topic most would like to avoid, and too often do, but post-mortem services are inevitably a necessity for everyone.
While planning due to the loss of a loved one or for our own departure can feel daunting, it doesn't have to be, according to Richard Kelley-Dixon, the owner-operator of the newly established 4-States Cremation Society based in Miami.
Kelley-Dixon's roots run deep in northeast Oklahoma. A descendant of Thomas Miller Moore of the Miami Tribe his family is part of the very fabric of what is now Miami. After working for and helping to run some of the best funeral providers in the country, he has come home to fulfill what he calls his personal American Dream by bringing a new approach to what can often be an expensive and overwhelming process.
"I have been providing these kinds of services since I was sixteen," said Kelley-Dixon. "I've worked with some of the most well-known funeral providers in the country, and I've found a way to continue that work in a simpler and more affordable way, here, back home in Miami."
Serving the four-state region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, Kelley-Dixon says what makes his services unique is the ability to keep costs minimal while still providing the same care and quality of traditional cremation providers.
"I use the same cremation facilities and removal providers that the local funeral homes do," he said. "The difference is that I am able to operate independently. I am not beholden to the Oklahoma Funeral Board, and I am not looking to get rich. I am for everyday people. Common, sensible people."
Kelley-Dixon's services also extend to domestic pets.
He said building his business has not been easy, claiming he continues to face push-back from both the Oklahoma Funeral Board and certain traditional funeral providers.
He said that as a long-time professional within the funeral industry he worked to discover how to remove the need to be under the auspice of Oklahoma Funeral Board and ease the burden of end of life services.
Kelley-Dixon said his contention with the state oversight board is that it operates without appropriated funds and instead exists solely through the funds generated by fines against the businesses it is meant to progress and guide.
"How can that board progress this profession if it depends on penalizing it to exist? That makes no sense, so I looked into it and found a way to legally operate without them," he said. "I researched like crazy to find a way to have this business independent of the board and make it affordable and accessible."
As a licensed funeral director and cremation specialist, Kelley-Dixon has established 4-States as a private society rather than a funeral home. He contracts the services he provides, acting as a liaison to those seeking cremation services.
"This is the future. In the cities this is taking off because the days of the $10,000 to $30,000 funeral are over," he said. "No one can afford that, and fewer and fewer people are choosing to be buried. Cremation is their choice, and I make it accessible."
The process is simple with a $10 registration fee for those that choose to become members of 4-State for cremation services ahead of time and payment due at the time of services. For those seeking arrangements for a loved one, Kelley-Dixon is on call to quickly walk clients through the process of interning their loved ones to his care for cremation.
Costs begin at $495 for basic services.
"It takes less than 30 minutes. I come to them, and there is a very simple form," he said. "I come to you and provide a quality service. I'm not there to intimidate or push. You won't find me showing up in a three piece suit pushing options in the thousands and thousands of dollars. I'm there to help make what comes next easier."
Kelley-Dixon brands his approach as "Service with Sincerity," a phrase that he says describes who he is.
"I'm a sincere person. I have a way to help people while building something for myself," he said. "What I want is simple. I'm working to make my own way. To run my own business, and make my own American Dream. I'm not trying to get wealthy, just make a living doing something that's needed."
The 4-States Cremation Society office is located at 28 C St. NE in Miami and can be reached for more information or services by calling 918-325-2705 or by email at email@example.com.
Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.