Funerals Reimagined

Funerals Reimagined

A New Spin on the Traditional Send-Off  

By: Kelly Roberts

As a kid, I was always intrigued by funeral homes. When Dad needed help delivering flowers from our third-generation family flower shop to the local funeral homes, I was always first to raise my hand. Chatting with the local funeral directors in the depths of these funeral homes fueled my interest in the industry and sparked my passion to serve others.

Fast-forward to 2005, my brothers and I open a funeral home where we grew up — Forest Lake, Minnesota. Funerals back then were traditionally sad, dusty rituals, but the industry has slowly changed the norm over the last 15 years.

“I want a party, not a funeral” was the common phrase heard in social settings anytime my line of work became the topic of conversation. With that phrase always in the back of my mind, along with other industry trends such as cremation gaining popularity, we were inspired to create Sendoff–Funerals Reimagined.

Just like a lot of churches have taken out the pews, we are leading an evolution for funerals and how our society memorializes a life. A sendoff is like a funeral — if a funeral was something you actually wanted to go to. From mechanical bulls and oysters at your favorite bar, to a pontoon tie-up and fireworks on the lake, it is our job to make it happen. The possibilities are endless. You are not confined to a dated funeral home or buttered ham sandwich in a church basement; you can choose from our preferred hospitality partners or any venue that speaks to you. These can include bars, breweries, baseball fields, bowling alleys and beyond!

We are an end-to-end service provider through a family’s most challenging times. When a death occurs, we walk families through burial and cremation services that even include eco-friendly options. Then we take an individualized approach to curate a celebration that can be edgy, elegant and everything in between. Most important, a sendoff is meant to bring joy and healing — and hopefully inspiration — to families and their guests.  


More and more, younger generations are opening up to discussing death and dying, including pre-planning their own “way out.” Case in point: 45-year-old Jeff Johnson has planned his own one-of-a-kind “Awesome Funeral Party” (as he calls it!) to include a canoe trip across the Minneapolis lakes, swag bags for all the guests and flaming arrows being shot through the air at dusk. We feel that with our deep experience in funerals, combined with our robust event-planning resources, our team will be able to provide this epic sendoff that speaks to Jeff’s life. 


At Sendoff, we not only transform the way we celebrate a life but also aspire to make a difference in how our society embraces memorializing a loved one. People typically have good intentions to express their condolences and show their support to friends and family, but they often don’t want to go to funerals. They welcome any tiny excuse that helps rationalize their decision not to attend. We intend to change this mindset and give people a reason to “be there” — developing a frame of mind to actually want to be there.

One of our mantras is to serve others through supporting our local community partners. We have developed a give-back initiative, where we make a donation in the deceased’s name to a local charity supporting cancer, mental health and other important initiatives.

Sendoff is the new state of mind in how we say goodbye to our loved ones, and we are stoked to be championing this charge.

Learn more about what we're up to by visiting


Read more of our stories in Issue 24 of Lake and Company.