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Our new Welcome Center is open | Learn more and visit

Lakewood’s Welcome Center: A modern, new space to explore possibilities

You may have heard or seen that our new Welcome Center is now open! This new space at Lakewood was intentionally designed to welcome the community, and also to help us better guide individuals and families who wish to explore memorialization options at Lakewood. Whether families are coping with a recent loss, deciding how to memorialize a loved one’s urn they have at home, or planning ahead, our Family Services team can lend a listening ear and offer advice as people make meaningful end-of-life decisions.

“The best part of our new space,” says Kelly Leahy, Director of Family Services, “is that when people come in to learn about Lakewood and all the choices available, they feel comfortable and welcome – including the many generations, faiths and cultures we serve here at Lakewood. With our new Welcome Center, we now have more space to meet with families in private, more comfortable meeting rooms that can accommodate several family members. Having additional space means families have more time to ask all their questions and reflect on the many different options that we offer, making the experience easier and more meaningful.” Kelly says her goal is that every family who makes plans at Lakewood will feel confident that they made the best choice for themselves or for their loved ones. 

A welcoming and accessible place
Lakewood’s new space was designed to enhance the overall experience for visitors and families at Lakewood. 

Within the first week of opening, the first visitors looking to make memorial plans arrived at our new Welcome Center on a snowy day to meet with one of our Family Services advisors, Esteban Castañeda. The couple, who live near Lakewood, said watching the building go up sparked their interest, prompting them to schedule a visit. 

Esteban explains that the family had held off visiting Lakewood because the husband has mobility issues. “Our new accessible front entry made his experience much easier. After we spent time together discussing their plans,” he continued, “accessibility came back into play when we left to tour the grounds.” The Welcome Center’s heated garage allows visitors easy access to Lakewood vehicles, especially pleasant on a rainy or snowy day. 

Modern technology that brings people together
The large technology screens in each of our new Family Services rooms will make it easy to share information about all of Lakewood’s offerings, including memorialization options, ceremonies and receptions. 

Family Services advisor Seth Kaltwasser quickly discovered how the new Welcome Center puts families at ease. Recently, Seth worked with a large group who had siblings in two states. Even local family members couldn’t all come in person, as one brother had to stay home with a cough. Seth says, “I looped everyone into the call. Discussing options together as a family sparked their creativity, and that can really help people as they move along their grief journey.” 

The new screens and technology will let visitors see Lakewood in a new way. Via each room’s large smart screen, families will have amazing views of Lakewood’s expansive 250 park-like acres, and also close-up views of specific memorial spaces. “The map technology will give people a nice overview before they tour the grounds.” 

Open to all
Earlier this month, a group of longtime friends who walk regularly at Lakewood came to see the building and spoke with Lakewood’s welcome coordinator, Elizabeth Sloan. She learned from them that one woman who used to walk with the group had passed away. The women came to the Welcome Center and decorated ribbons in honor of their friend. Preparing to bring their ribbons to the Living Memory Tree, a free, community memorial here at Lakewood that is open to all, they told Elizabeth on their way out, how comforting it felt to be in such a beautiful, inviting space. 

Come visit
If you’d like to see the Welcome Center and learn more about memorial options, you can schedule an appointment with our Family Services team at or 612-822-2171. 

You can visit our new Welcome Center, open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, or join us at our Open House and Ribbon Cutting Celebration on Wednesday May 1, from 3 to 7 PM. 

The Welcome Center, which is a model of environmental responsibility and one of the first net-zero energy ready buildings in Minneapolis, will also offer a robust array of community events and programming centered on remembrance. 


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