The people at Riverside Funeral Home of Santa Fe want to be of service to families during times of grief, and they want to do so in an affordable way.
Riverside has been in business for 30 years in Albuquerque. Ten years ago they opened in Las Lunas, and a year ago, they started the Santa Fe location. From the Santa Fe office they serve people of Northern New Mexico. “We are available to help people all the way north to the Colorado state line,” says funeral home manager Chris Trujillo.
Their services have been well-received and in their first year, they have already helped 350 families. At a time when an average funeral costs more than $7,000, Riverside offers a complete package priced at $2,995. It is a traditional funeral and includes transportation of the body, a casket, hearse, services, and burial. “There are no hidden costs. Transparency is very important to us. That’s why we put our prices on our website and in our advertising,” says Trujillo. He explains that everything is included in this service, but families may chose an upgraded casket beyond the standard one that can add to the cost.
He observes that in many traditional religious beliefs, burial is the preferred approach, but increasingly people are open to considering cremation. At Riverside, a full-service cremation that includes viewing and services in a cremation casket is priced at $2,995. A direct cremation without a ceremony or services is available for $745, and those prices include transportation and refrigeration.
Preplanning and funeral insurance
Planning ahead for funeral services offer some advantages. Payments can be made over time and with a guaranteed plan, today’s prices can be locked in for the future. At Riverside, they have an insurance agent on staff that can help arrange a plan.
Trujillo explains that people may purchase an insurance policy through other funeral homes. When it is time to use the plan, they can bring it to Riverside. If the plan was purchased elsewhere for more than the cost of a Riverside funeral, Riverside offers a refund for the balance. Trujillo points out, “No other funeral home offers a refund.”
Help available 24 hours a day
The staff at Riverside in Santa Fe is dedicated to helping families in Northern New Mexico with all aspects of a funeral. A friendly staff member answers the phone 24 hours a day. They will come to the place of passing as quickly as possible, regardless of the hour, so there is no need for any temporary arrangements to be made.
The person who answers the phone late at night is funeral manager Trujillo. He says, “With six young children and another one on the way, I don’t sleep much anyway, so I’m the one who answers the phone at night. I can help people make immediate arrangements.”
Chris and Felicia Trujillo
Trujillo is a retired police officer and assisted people in that role, but he says that helping families during times of grief gives him more satisfaction. He was born and raised in Socorro, New Mexico, south of Albuquerque. “When I was a young altar boy, I knew the local funeral director. When I was 13 years old, he hired me to keep the chapel clean. By the time I was 18, I was learning all aspects of the trade.”
He became a police officer, but always knew he would have a second career. “I wanted to be of service to families who are grieving,” he says.
His wife, Felicia, works in the business as well. Altogether, there is a staff of eight at Riverside Funeral Home in Santa Fe.
Bringing affordable services to Northern New Mexico
“Because of a lack of competition here, the prices for funeral services are high in Northern New Mexico, which is a burden to families who are already grieving. We offer the same services as other funeral homes. We have the best equipment and have purchased new hearses, including a four-wheel drive hearse just for the rural North,” points out Trujillo. “We only charge what a funeral should cost, not the high prices charged by others.”
Treating everyone equally and with respect is something the staff takes great pride in. The results are seen in a wall covered by thank you notes, including letters from Taos families.
The family of Ronald Fresquez writes, “Thank you all so very much for all the love, comfort and support that you provided to me and my family at the loss of my husband, Ronald. I will forever be indebted to you for your friendship, professionalism and loving manner you displayed.”
Contact Riverside Funeral Home in Santa Fe by phone or on their website, which offers a family guide with step-by-step explanations of the process.
Chris Trujillo says “We know families struggle to pay for funerals of their loved ones. We see them having bake sales and car washes and bringing in jars of change. We have helped people out of our own pockets with Go Fund Me accounts. We hate to see people paying more than they need to. We offer professional services at a reasonable price.”