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Funeral home sees 100 years of helping residents to their final destination

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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Morticians have been with Roseville since the first steel rail lines were laid along its avenues, and one of the oldest centers for this profession is now celebrating 100 years of merging death with dignity.

Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses appeared on the south end of Lincoln Street in 1912, striking a gracious appearance with stately gardens and its Spanish Mission-style architecture. Today its halls contain antique reminders of those early years, from turn-of-the-century embalming tables to vintage cosmetic boxes for the dead.  

A brown, brittle roll of legal papers found in the structure’s attic shows the first owner of the funeral home was Alicia Broyer, the wife a prominent attorney in Roseville. In the 1950s, the home came under possession of Kenneth Cochrane, who was later elected Placer County Coroner in 1958. Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses flourished under Kenneth’s son, Curt Cochrane, a lifelong mortician. After Curt Cochrane passed away, the Cochrane family sold the business to ECI in 1994. Three years later, Cochrane’s was again sold, this time to its present owner, Carriage Services.

Now 100 years old, Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses still strikes a classic image between Lincoln Street and the back of the Roseville Theater.

“There really haven’t been a lot of structural problems,” said Rebecca Kaplan, a funeral director at Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses. “General maintenance has kept the building together really well. There’s been the occasional painting and gardening work, and a new porch for families to gather on. All and all, the building has kept its relaxing environment.”

According to Anna Hayes, another funeral director, Cochrane’s ambiance is a vital part in providing comfort to families who are grieving.

“We’ve gotten a lot of compliments about how comfortable and homey it feels in here,” Hayes said. “It doesn’t have the stark feeling of a funeral home.”

Down the hallway from the building’s cozy inner chapel is a showroom lined with coffin heads, the décor of which range from ornate elegance to respectful simplicity. It was in this room that a historic replica of Abraham Lincoln’s long, narrow coffin once sat for public viewing. The steady flow of such memories have made Cochrane’s a permanent fixture with locals.

“We have families who come back to us because it’s important to them to keep that tradition,” Hayes observed. “On our end, we make sure to provide individual services that help celebrate a specific person’s life. That can be helping with everything from finding the right cemetery and clergy to arraigning for a military honor guard. We’re constantly planning and updating the services, because that’s the last thing the family should have to worry about.”

Kaplan agrees. She also views the longstanding funeral home as an important gathering spot in the history of Roseville.

“The place has been a staple for the city,” Kaplan said. “People who were born here want to have their services here, because the chapel has been here all their life — so why not conclude things here? And, though funerals are sad, they also are events that bring the community together. That’s something that’s very important about them.” 

Scott Thomas Anderson can be reached at scotta@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at ScottA_RsvPT.