By Michael YEGHIAYAN
Oftentimes, a business’ contribution to the community is subjective and difficult to measure. However, occasionally a business is so deeply rooted into an area that its importance is beyond question. Such is the case with the longstanding La Crescenta institution, Crippen Mortuary.
Founded by William and Ethel Crippen in 1928, Crippen Mortuary has remained in the hands of the Crippen family for 82 years. The business has since been passed down to their daughter, Margaret Crippen Wurtz, who will be celebrating her 97th birthday on July 1.
Bob Hansen, who works with Crippen as the funeral director, has had a large part in the mortuary’s contribution to the Crescenta Valley. Hansen himself has been integral to the history of the area, serving as both the president of the CV Chamber of Commerce as well as being honored as the honorary mayor of La Crescenta.
“Since we’ve been here so long and we are the last independent mortuary in the area, we have seen more people turn to us in recent years,” said Hansen. “Our independent status allows us to be less expensive than corporate funeral services while remaining more personally accommodating to the personal needs of each family.”
Although the presence of their services has remained constant for the better part of a century, part of Crippen’s success is related to their ability to adapt and grow in relation to their surroundings.
“We will strive to continue to meet the needs and requests of the community,” remarked Hansen. “I feel strongly that our presence is needed and appreciated.”
In his years with Crippen Mortuary, Hansen has also witnessed and shared moments of pain and heartbreak amongst the rest of the Crescenta Valley. However, Crippen’s has remained a steadfast pillar of strength even during the most difficult times.
“When the area has been struck with tragedy, the community has consistently joined together in support,” commented Hansen. “At the recent passing of a local
soldier serving in Iraq, it
was moving to see so many people offer his family their support and gratitude for his sacrifice.”
“In my profession, you see families at their most vulnerable state,” he added. “They need to be helped and supported.”
Crippen Mortuary has also expanded in recent years, offering their services beyond the Crescenta-Cañada area. In June of 2005 they took control of business operations of another longstanding local mortuary, Eckerman-Heisman Funeral Service in the Burbank area. Additionally, they recently expanded into the Santa Clarita area with the opening of an arrangement office in 2007.
“The institution of Crippen Mortuary will remain steadfast in the community and continue to service with simplicity and dignity,” concluded Hansen. “We strive to serve our friends and neighbors as would want to be served.”