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A Funeral Director's Brush with Death

Jeff J. Kleczka is 38 years old. He has a wife, children, much family, and many friends.

But Jeff had a death experience while working to serve those he cares for.

Jeff can recall the date very easily. He said, “It was November...November 15th, 1994 to be exact!”

Jeff was twenty-one at the time. He was a new apprentice at the Rembs Kundinger Funeral Home in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Shortly after arriving at work, his partner had returned from doing a removal. Jeff insisted that he would help remove the deceased from the hearse and take the deceased into the funeral home and down to the lower level where the care and preparation takes place.

Jeff pushed the cot into the old and rather small elevator. The elevator had no door. The only protection was a wooden gate that was placed in front of the entrance way as the elevator was maneuvered from floor to floor. Jeff said of the elevator being “rigged” so-to-speak. There was a wooden stick that held the up and down buttons. This was in place so that the funeral directors did not have to hold the button in the entire way up or down.

While going down to the lower floor, Jeff noticed an object of some sort that did not belong in the lower level of the home. After already being in the elevator and having placed the cot where it belonged, Jeff decided to reach over the wooden gate of the elevator to try and reach for this object that did not belong.

He missed the object, and reached for it again. No luck.

At that very moment, the one ton elevator came crashing down upon the cot which in turn collapsed on top of Jeff’s back.

“All I can remember is screaming. Then I blacked out,” Jeff said.

According to Kleczka, he was not breathing for about five to seven very long minutes. He had to be resuscitated and taken to the hospital.

Jeff made it through this life threatening event.

He made a quiet chuckle and said, “And that is how I almost lost my life to funeral service!”





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