Our History

From humble beginnings when our great-great-grandfather, John Dames emigrated to the United States in the early 1800’s it was as so many yearned for, the search for a better life for his family.  He settled in Joliet and opened his John F. Dames Fine Furniture and Woodworking Store.  A profoundly religious man, he began making caskets for the local undertaker.  The loss of a close friend revealed his true ministry, as he prepared the casket, assisted the funeral director and comforted his friend’s family.  Soon after, John Dames established the Dames Fine Furniture and Undertaking Establishment in the 100 block of North Bluff Street in Joliet, Illinois, which eventually became the Dames Funeral Home.  Our great-grandfather Joseph continued the tradition, as Dames Brothers Funeral Home until our grandfather, Fred C. Dames, entered the ministry with the desire to serve and create an environment unlike the funeral homes of that era that were operated in modified residential homes.  In 1938 Fred C. Dames built the first modern-day funeral home with all ground level construction, and large chapel areas for families to gather.  He was a pioneer, as he was the first funeral home to design and install a “block ice” cooling or air conditioning system well before air conditioning was available, adding to the comfort for his families during those hot summer months.  Our father, Mark L. Dames, operated this facility, expanded its square footage and added modern-day advancements up until October 6, 1996, when it was sold to the Senior Services Center of Will County to benefit the growing number of seniors in this community.  In 1991 Mark L. Dames and his three sons built and dedicated the Fred C. Dames Funeral Home at 3200 Black at Essington Roads in Joliet, where we continue to care for an increasing number of families that we are so privileged to serve.   

Our family has lived and worked in this area for over 165 years and have found the best of humanity and way of life that exists anywhere.  We are continuing the tradition that our great-great-grandfather John instilled in his son, who instilled it in his son, who instilled it in his son, who instilled in us, the philosophy that there is no greater reward in life than to help another human being at one of the most difficult times in their life, and to know that through our efforts, we have helped to ease the uncertainty and create a safe and comfortable place in which to reflect.  We are proud to be part of the Morris community.  Our funeral homes and services include all the traditional appointments families have come to expect, such as all ground level construction to assist our families and friends who are of advanced age and/or have special needs, large chapel areas to accommodate comfortably all who wish to honor and pay their respects to a family who has lost someone close to them, and parking immediately adjacent on all sides of the facility for quick and easy ground level access, especially during inclement weather.  Our mission was to provide not only the most accommodating of traditional appointments but to provide many of the additional services that families today require, such as nationwide and world wide funeral transfers, donation to medical research, traditional, memorial, and cremation services complete with an on-site crematory.   Our families now have the peace of mind of knowing that every step of the cremation process will be handled by the licensed funeral director who arranged the funeral.  With our own on site crematory, the Fred C. Dames Funeral Home does not turn any portion of the care they provide over to another third-party cremation  company.  For those families who wish to witness cremation rites being accorded, they can do so in the comfort of the funeral home’s crematory enclave.  Theater quality sound and electronic photo and video presentations are just some of the hidden built-in features that are available at a family’s request, to further personalize a final earthly tribute.  We provide these services as proud members of the Universal Funeral Service Contract Acceptance Program (UFSCAP), guaranteeing that the expenses that a family wishes to occur will be as reasonable as or more reasonable than any of our funeral service colleagues in the continental United States.  We guarantee it.  Our ministry in funeral service is synonymous to who we are.  Within our practice we know no bounds to help all who call upon us, and with God’s grace, we shall continue to serve for generations to come.