This month’s member spotlight is on one of the longest running members of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce – Crippen Mortuary. Crippen has been in existence for over 80 years … 87 to be exact. That’s about as old as the Chamber itself (we’re celebrating our 90th anniversary this year).
Owner Robert Hansen, or Bob as most call him, recently recalled some of the early days of Crippen’s membership with the Chamber.
“In the 1980s, we would have joint mixers with the Montrose Chamber for Saint Patrick’s Day,” Hansen recalled. “There was a big white tent in the parking lot with green carpet underfoot. You’d eat corned beef till you were blue in the face! We had Irish stew on chilly nights. There was lots of green beer and Irish coffee. Earlier in the day,” Hansen said, “we’d promote the event by having bagpipers walk down Honolulu! Once we had four stretch limos decorated with shamrocks.”
“We’d get a couple hundred people, easy,” said Hansen. “The seniors next door came, the sheriffs. The fire department couldn’t come, though, because they didn’t think our tent was legal! We’d raise lots of money in auctions and raffles. One year we raised over $2,000 for Montrose Search and Rescue.”
How did Bob Hansen come to own Crippen Mortuary? Back in 1976, Hansen had just finished embalming school in Hollywood and was living in La Cañada. He asked around for the local mortuary and was directed to Crippen. There he met Margaret and Leonard Crippen, who started the company in 1928 and were thinking about retirement. They brought Hansen on, training him and trusting him to one day run the business. Sadly Leonard passed on shortly thereafter but Margaret kept going for another 35 years, supporting most of Hansen’s decisions, as he recalls, with a “Well, Bob, whatever you think is best.”
Hansen added new service vehicles and other state-of-the-art services to the business. Whereas they used to get 92 calls per year, now they get 256.
These days Bob Hansen’s nephew Cordero Hansen is taking over more of the work at Crippen. He’s fully licensed and has every intention to carry on the Crippen name. He will also carry on the Crippen/Hansen philosophy of following the Golden Rule.
“Don’t take advantage simply because you’re the only mortuary in town,” says Bob Hansen. Being much more intimate and half the price of large corporate mortuaries, Crippen has been in the business long enough to handle all your needs with compassion and professionalism. Thanks for being a member all these years!
Crippen Mortuary, and other Chamber members celebrating landmark anniversaries, will be recognized at our October mixer. Please join us Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bonner’s Party Rentals, 6935 Foothill Blvd. in Tujunga. Businesses who have been members for five, 10, 15, 20 years, etc. will be recognized. There will also be food, beverages, networking, prizes and a chance for members to win $350. But you must be there to win! Mixer tickets are $7 for members, $9 for non-members and you can buy them at the door. See you there!