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About Us

about Us

Our Story

Opened in the summer of 2012, the planning for our funeral home began some time ago.  With more than 32 years of experience in funeral service, it was evident to us that very often, as the wishes of those needing a funeral home were changing, funeral service was not.

At Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service our goal is to listen, to offer suggestions and to provide the best possible service to you and your family with care, compassion and common sense.  We are focused entirely on your needs, comfort and convenience and not at all on products.  You have told us we are moving in the right direction, and we thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Why We're Different

Different?  Do we really want to say we’re different?  Absolutely!

We’re different because our focus is on you and your needs, not the "merchandise" decisions funeral service has traditionally been focused on. This frees us to listen better, make better suggestions and recommendations and serve you better.  Of course we have caskets, burial vaults, urns and other items for you to choose from.  All funeral homes do.

And we’re different because providing great service and compassionate assistance in a responsible, affordable manner is all we aspire to do. The funeral you are planning is about you and your family, it's not about us.    

If you need us, call us and we'll be there.  Yes, we are different, and thankful to be.

Our Staff

What makes one funeral home different from any other?...It's people do!

Joe Messenger

Funeral Director/Owner

Joe was a typical teenager, though admittedly he lacked motivation and direction for his future as his high school years drew to a close. His first jobs included delivering newspapers and bagging groceries at a local grocery store chain. A somewhat chance meeting with the owner of a funeral home in his home town led to a job offer. Little did he know at the time, but this job offer would give him that much needed direction and change his life forever. Since that time in 1982, Joe has enjoyed every minute of serving families during their most difficult moments.  

After 30 years in funeral service, in 2012 with the support of his wife and business partner, Vicky, he opened Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service.  


Rachel (Gaynor) Smith

Funeral Director

Born and raised here, Rachel is Gaylord’s only true “native” funeral director.  Through her own personal experience at a young age, she sensed her calling early on to become a funeral director and to help others during life’s most difficult moments.

She was a normal Gaylord teenager, active in many school and church activities and working her early jobs at the Gaylord Cinema, Otsego Club and babysitting.

A 2004 graduate of Gaylord High School, Rachel left to pursue her education and funeral service training.  It was always her goal to return home to Gaylord with her husband Dave (also Gaylord born and raised) and their young family.  Her goal became reality when she joined us here in December of 2014.