History of Chippewa Valley Cremation Services - Celebration of Life Center

Matt Thompson, Owner/Funeral Director, Eau Claire Funeral Home and Cremation Chippewa Valley Cremation Services was founded in 2010 by Matt Thompson, a long time Wisconsin native and Eau Claire resident. Matt worked as a funeral director in the area for eight years serving families in the Chippewa Valley. One commonality he saw time after time was family members not only shocked at how much it cost to have their loved one buried or cremated, but also that many simply could not afford to pay for what should be an affordable event. Matt opened Chippewa Valley Cremation Services to provide people in the area with truly affordable funeral service options.  In May of 2013, Matt aquired Schriver Funeral Chapel in Bloomer, now known as Thompson Funeral Home & Chippewa Valley Cremation Services.  In October of 2018, Matt expanded Chippewa Valley Cremation Services opening the all new Celebration of Life Center.  Consequently the business name has evolved to Chippewa Valley Cremation Services - Celebration of Life Center.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services - Celebration of Life Center is a fully licensed funeral home (as required by law). Since day one, we have strived to keep our overhead operating costs to a minimum to provide families we serve with the best possible prices in the area. We provide the families we serve with only the services they want and need.  Unlike some of our funeral service competitors, there are NO MEMBERSHIP FEES at Chippewa Valley Cremation Services.  We also feature an on-site state-of-the-art crematory located at our cremation center in Altoona..

To keep our operating expenses low, we utilize modern technology and are always retraining our staff on the most effecient and effective ways to operate our family business, while maintaining the special personal touches our client families deserve. Since many of the families we serve belong to a church, we are able to use your church for all visitation and funeral ceremonies to assist you in keeping your funeral costs as low as possible. For the growing number of families that do not have a church home or choose not to use their church, we are happy that we can offer you the use of our state-of-the-art Celebration of Life Center located in Altoona, just off Highway 12, next to Charter Spectrum..  For the families we serve to the north of the Eau Claire area, we are also happy to offer the use of Thompson Funeral Home in Bloomer.  Thompson Funeral Home is the only funeral home north of Eau Claire/Altoona that offers full service meal catering.  It is also the largest funeral home for miles north of the Eau Claire area.

For those families seeking a traditional funeral service, visitation or tribute service or even a fully catered lunch, we are now able to offer all of those services at our Altoona and Bloomer locations.  (Note: In Altoona we are also licensed to sell beer/malted beverages at your celebration of life event).  The best part is, you will only pay for the services you chose.  We guarantee you WILL pay much less with us over any other funeral home in the area.   You can visit Thompson Funeral Home online at www.thompsonfuneralhome.com.

Joelle Lesny, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


Joelle Lesny - General Manager  was born and raised in Bloomer, WI. She attended St. Paul’s Catholic School, and graduated from Bloomer High School. She previously worked at the Mayo Clinic Health System - The Maplewood Nursing Home (Now Dove Healthcare) as a CNA for the elderly. She joined the caring team at Chippewa Valley Cremation Servicess & Thompson Funeral Home in 2013. Prior to becoming the office manager, Joelle completed her funeral directors apprenticeship at Chippewa Valley Cremation Services.  Joelle not only runs both of our offices, but she is well versed in the entire funeral & cremation process since she completed the apprenticeship program in 2016.

Dan Layhew, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


Dan Layhew - Funeral Director Dan joined our team in October of 2019. He and his family recently relocated to Chippewa Falls. He graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2011 and has served as a Funeral Director in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois and later for several years in Medford, Wisconsin.

Dan served in the United States Air Force and maintained the C-130 Hercules Cargo Aircraft and was part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Dan is married to his wife, Ali Layhew, who is the RN Pediatric Care Coordinator for Marshfield Clinic. They have one beautiful daughter, Eira Kay. They attend Jacob’s Well Church.

As a funeral director, Dan strives to provide the best possible service through remembrance and tribute to lives well lived. Being able to achieve a meaningful funeral experience for each family requires careful listening and attention to detail, as well as an understanding of each family's needs. He is honored to serve the families of the Chippewa Valley through funeral service, death care education and other community activities.

Bailee Larson, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


Bailee Larson - Apprentice Funeral Director Bailee joined our team in March of 2019 as an apprentice funeral director. She was raised in Eau Claire and graduated from Eau Claire North High School in 2015. Being a native of the Chippewa Valley, Bailee is excited to serve her community. She plans on attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science in the future.


Mary Thompson, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


Mary Thompson - Directors Assistant was a long time resident of La Crosse, WI, unitl moving to Eau Claire in 2017. She worked as a full time liturgist in La Crosse at St. Rose Convent until her retirement in March of 2017. Mary has been a church musician and liturgist throughout her professional life. She is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI and Notre Dame University in Indiana.  Mary relocated to Eau Claire in 2017 to be closer to her family.
Mary has experienced working and caring for individuals and families in planning tasteful and memorable life celebrations, including funerals, for over 40 years. She is proud to be a part of Chippewa Valley Cremation Services and believes in affordable and caring end of life choices for individuals and families. 

David Tackmann, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


David Tackmann - Directors Assistant





Frankie Thompson, Eau Claire Funeral and Cremation Services


Frankie Thompson - Chief Caring Officer joined our team during the spring of 2018. He was born in rural Chippewa County and has been raised by Matt Thompson and his family since the age of eight weeks. Frankie is a graduate of Neuman’s K-9 Academy where he was a student in their advanced boot camp training. You can generally find him at either our Bloomer or Altoona locations eager to meet new friends that come through the doors. Frankie is currently working toward becoming a certified therapy dog (as recognized by the American Kennel Club). In his spare time, you can find Frankie basking in the sunlight at home on the patio, playing with his toys, swimming in the lake, playing with his dog cousins Warren & Baxter or sprawled out sleeping in his dog bed.

Our Pledge To You...

Our commitment to those we serve is to always be the most affordable funeral service provider in the Chippewa Valley and surrounding counties. That is our pledge and we guarantee it. We strive to keep our overhead low and by doing that we will always be able to offer you the lowest and most affordable price on funeral and cremation services. We care about you and want to assist you and your family in creating a unique, meaningful and affordable celebration of life.

Eau Claire Pre-Planning Services