S A G Funeral Home owner Steve Ganaway holds one of the urns he offers for purchase. Photo by Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE,TN—SAG Funeral Home owner Steve Ganaway is a man dedicated to giving back to his community.

He grew up on Arthur St. in North Nashville in a little enclave of houses and small businesses. As a kid, he says, he’d help neighbors carry groceries and mow lawns, never asking for money but not turning it down when it was offered. He was raised that way.

Now, he owns the funeral home at the corner of Buchanan and 16th Ave., the same bit of land he’d mow as a boy. Formerly McGavok and Martin Brothers Funeral Home, his is the only black-owned crematory in Tennessee, he says, and he bought the funeral home to help low-income folks in his neighborhood.

The death of a loved one can be quite expensive—thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on client request—and oftentimes the people Ganaway serves don’t have the money on hand to bury them. He says cremation is becoming a common alternative to burial, especially among younger folks, due to its lower cost. However, the rise in demand for cremation has caused an increase in prices, making it harder for people to afford.

Seeing this need, Ganaway made the move to offer a simple cremation (minus the ceremony) for about $700. It covers the service of the funeral director and staff, cremation fee, box and temporary urn. Also included is the transfer of the loved one’s remains to a mortuary within a 50-mile radius.

He also doesn’t charge families to bury children under two years old—all the family pays for is the casket, which is $197.

One way to lessen the financial burden is to get pre-need life insurance to help pay the cost of services, Ganaway advised. It’s also important to tell loved ones about purchasing the insurance, noting he has decades-old records with unclaimed money from life insurance accounts that pre-date his purchase of the business. He says part of that comes from folks not wanting to talk about death.

“I have learned in this line of work that death is a part of life,” Ganaway said.

If you have questions about cremation or would like more information on services offered, you can call 615-244-5044. You can view active accounts of life insurance at www.sagfuneralhome.com.