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.
Manager & Funeral Director
After working in funeral service for six years in Salem, Andrew took over management of Farnstrom Mortuary in August 2012. He immediately fell in love with the small town and the kind, big-hearted people of Independence. Andrew appreciates the opportunity to care for his many friends in the community and bring people comfort in their time of need. Having spent most of his younger years in Mexico, Andrew has a deep appreciation for the diverse culture of our town and an endless appetite for Mexican food.
When off duty, you might find Andrew donning a Union soldier uniform at a Civil War reenactment, attending an English Country Dance, rock climbing on Smith Rock or land sailing on the Alvord Desert. In the long winter months, he can often be found relaxing in front of his wood stove or hosting a movie night under his indoor starscape. Andrew is a patient man of many talents. He works tirelessly to ensure that families have the tools they need to navigate the tumultuous process of life and death, and he aspires to be a source of comfort to every family that comes through his door.
Apprentice Funeral Director and Embalmer
General Manager, Funeral Director & Embalmer
Tim has been in the funeral industry for over 24 years. His career started in Oregon where he was born and raised most of his life. His experience started early and Tim served a three year apprenticeship before attending Mt. Hood Community College where he graduated with his sciences degree in Funeral Service. Tim’s interest in the funeral industry began when he was young, with most of his family involved in the medical field, Tim figured that becoming a funeral director/embalmer would be a good fit due to his love for anatomy and caring for others. Tim enjoys helping guide families through one of the hardest experiences of their lives by providing tools to create the perfect way to memorialize their loved ones. When Tim is not working he loves spending time with his dogs, traveling, hiking, fishing, kayaking, flying, camping and just getting out in what the great northwest has to offer.
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.”