Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
Learn the legacy.
Farnstrom Mortuary was established years ago, and serving families has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
General Manager & Director
Raised in the Salem area, Elizabeth graduated from Sprague High School before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Eastern Oregon University. Alongside her husband, she cherishes a family of four children, two furry companions, and anticipates the arrival of their first grandchild. In her elusive spare moments, Elizabeth enjoys crocheting and knitting, exploring new places, relishing the tunes of '80s hair bands, and spending time with her family. Actively engaged in her community, she lends support to local non-profits such as Believe-In Your Community and Magic Wheelchair, teaches at her church, and joyfully participates in ringing the Salvation Army Bells during her favorite season, Christmas time.
In 2019, Elizabeth obtained her director's license, solidifying her belief that being a Funeral Director is more than just a job—it's a profound calling of guiding others through genuinely challenging moments.
Funeral Director & Embalmer
Garry joined our funeral home in 2012, but has served Salem area families since 1977. He has worked with many of the same families throughout his career and feels it has been very rewarding to continue to serve them today. Born and raised in Salem, he is active in the community through his memberships with the Courthouse Athletic Club and the Salem Active Business Promoters.
Garry graduated from South Salem High School in 1975, and continued his education at Chemeketa Commuinty College, Western Oregon University and Mt. Hood Community College.
In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting and working out with friends. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Starla, and going on their annual trips to Hawaii.
Funeral Home Administrator
Leigh brought strong administrative and customer service experience to our team when she joined the staff in May 2008. Born in Portland, she is fifth-generation Oregonian who was raised on a self-sustained farm in Wilsonville. She is active in her community through the Willamette Riverkeepers.
Leigh lives in Independence with her daughter, Malaya, and their cat, Boots. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping, swimming, boating, and touring the Oregon wine country.
Michael Thress has been serving families at their time of need since 2012. He started in Family Service and currently is Sales Manager at Restlawn Memory Gardens and Mausoleum, Roseburg Memorial Park and Valley View Cemetery.
Michael graduated from Drexel University and has a Bachelor Degree in Finance. During his free time Michael likes to snowboard and golf.
“When I started in this industry I discovered my passion when I realized the invaluable service I provide – basically when death occurs, I give the family peace of mind by understanding ‘who to call, where to go, and what to do.”
Funeral Director Assistant