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Funeral home to host anniversary event

BROOKFIELD – A DJ, a salute to veterans, a magician and more activities will herald the 110th anniversary celebration of Brookfield's Hitzeman Funeral Home on Saturday.

The fourth generation, family-owned business has been located at 9445 W. 31st St. since the early 1960s, when it moved to Brookfield from its original home at 26th and Keeler streets in Chicago. According to the home's website, only about 1 percent of family businesses achieve the distinction of being family owned for four generations.

If the party is anything like the business' 100th anniversary celebration, the event will be held in a packed house.

"We had over 500 people attend [the 100th anniversary event]," said Todd Hitzeman, the funeral home's owner.

Saturday activities will begin at noon and continue through 4 p.m., Hitzeman said. The afternoon will begin with music and an open house, followed by a veteran's tribute at 1 p.m.

The Robert E. Coulter Jr. American Legion Post will post the colors, perform a bugle anthem and provide a 21-gun salute. An informational session about Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that takes veterans to experience Washington D.C. war memorials, will also be provided at the event.

Hitzeman said the American Legion and veterans tribute portion of the day's activities are due to the support area veterans organizations have provided the home, through special services and honors at funerals.

According to Hitzeman, the funeral business is not one that everyone understands, but that most will need assistance from during their lives.

"We're here to help people during a very hard time in their life," Hitzeman said of his experience working for the family business. "We believe that it's important to be a part of the community if you're a community business."

The event will also showcase some significant renovations that the home underwent three years ago.

"It's an opportunity for people to come in, have a good time and see what we've done," Hitzeman said.

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