Jeff and Danielle have a combination of over 50 years experience in the funeral service profession and both hold funeral directors licenses, and crematory operators licenses. Jeff has held an Embalmers license since 1996. Both Jeff and Danielle work hard each year to maintain the status of their state licenses through continuing education in the profession.
Because we have had many years of experience in the field both working for ourselves and other business owners, we have seen a long time need for a new niche in the funeral service industry. With cremation rates rapidly growing, and the desire of families to spend less money on funerals and instead pass their hard earned money to their heirs, we determined it was our dream to offer the most affordable option in funeral service where value and care are never compromised.
Why we chose a low cost cremation and funeral service business model:
Being a part of the funeral profession as long as we have, we have always recognized the need for high quality funeral care and merchandise at affordable pricing. We have always been uncomfortable with the percentage of mark-ups seen widespread in the traditional funeral service market. At Lake Erie Cremation & Funeral Services, we offer high quality American made merchandise and services at a third of the cost. Looking ahead, we have noticed the growing change in what the market is looking for from funeral service in the next decade. Today, a large number of families are looking to have an event to celebrate the life of their loved one who has passed on. Most times the desire is for an all-in-one-day event style celebration, whether it be a traditional viewing with a service or a memorial cremation. The services are normally followed with a reception (at the same location) of family and friends to share a meal and memories of their loved one. At Lake Erie Cremation & Funeral Services we chose to create a business that would cater to the change, while still respecting the tradition of the past, and offer these services at reasonable prices. It is important to us that the families we serve have the opportunity to save their hard earned money for family rather than paying increased markups that are widespread in the funeral service industry with other providers.
Jeff DiDonato, Funeral Director/Embalmer/Crematory Operator/Owner
Ashtabula native, Jeff DiDonato has been working in the funeral service profession for 37 years starting his career at 15 years old with Zaback Funeral Home in Ashtabula. Since then, he has had an abundance of experience working in several large funeral homes and crematories around the country including owning and operating his own funeral business in Euclid, Ohio in 2005. Jeff looks forward to putting his many years of compassionate community service to work for the residents of Northeast Ohio. Jeff graduated from St. John High School in Ashtabula, and then went on to earn his Bachelor of Biology and Pre-Medicine from Kent State University. In 1994, Jeff attended The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and earned his Funeral Directors and Embalmers degree in 1995. Above all, he is a devoted husband to his wife Danielle and 3 beautiful daughters.
Danielle DiDonato, Funeral Director/Crematory Operator/Catering Coordinator/Owner
Danielle grew up in Jefferson, Ohio and attended Baldwin Wallace College where she earned a Bachelor of Business Management. Danielle worked in the recruiting field for 2 years following college until she decided to join the funeral profession and serve an apprenticeship. For two years she studied and worked in the profession and finally sat for the state board exams to earn her funeral director license in 2008. She has spent several years making at-need and pre-need funeral arrangements, and working with restoration and cosmetics. In 2008, Danielle married her husband and business partner, Jeffrey DiDonato. Danielle has worked in the funeral profession on and off for the past 14 years and also spent over 5 years as the General Manager for Laurello Vineyards. In 2019, Danielle earned her Pastry Arts Degree from Escoffier in order to best serve families for their catering needs. Jeff and Danielle reside in Jefferson and have an amazing family of 3 girls, Alexandra, Quinn, and Avery and their "boys," English Cream Golden Retriever, Cooper and orange tabby cat, Winnie.
Debbie Dolan, Part-time Bookkeeper and Reception
Debbie is a long-time resident of Jefferson, and most recently retired after 24 years with All-Pro Transport in Ashtabula where she was a Bookkeeper and Biller. Debbie has also worked for hospitals as well as dentist offices and has years of office management experience and customer service. Debbie will spend most of her time doing accounting work and will also help from time to time for a funeral service, catering event, or celebration of live/memorial service. Debbie is the loving mother to Danielle DiDonato and her son Andy Dolan, however her greatest joy in her semi-retirement is her 5 grandchildren.
Jeff Payne, Licensed Crematory Operator/Funeral Support
Born and raised in Ashtabula and currently lives with his wife Michele, and his children; Josh and Jenna in Jefferson, OH. In his free-time, Jeff enjoys going on cruises, working on antique cars, and spending time with his family. Jeff works at Lake Erie Cremation & Funeral Services four days a week as a State of Ohio Licensed Crematory Operator and as Funeral Support where he ensures that all details are carried through for funerals and graveside services. Jeff also designs and plans cemetery monuments for the families we serve. Jeff has been working in the Architectural field where he designs residential and commercial building plans part-time since 2003 with his family. He has also been working in the funeral profession since 2011 and has experience in many areas to help serve families in need.
Paige Campbell-Woodburn, Licensed Pre-Need Consultant, Office Administrator
Born and raised in Ashtabula and currently lives there with her husband Kevin and two children; Grey and Ruby. Paige earned her insurance license in 2016 by passing the State of Ohio Life & Health Insurance Exam. Since then, Paige has several years of experience helping families who are considering pre-planning for funerals. She has worked in both Lake and Ashtabula counties and has vast knowledge with topics like Medicaid, life insurance, social security, military benefits/honors, probate information, and more. In her free-time, Paige is also a swim coach for Lakeside High School during the swim season. Paige is active in our community and is a part of Geneva Business Women and also participates in many other community events as a volunteer. Paige works Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for Lake Erie Cremation & Funeral Services and meets with families looking to get any questions answered surrounding pre-planning and successfully arranges pre-plans for many families in need.
Kevin Woodburn, Funeral Director Apprentice
Cooper is 4 years old and was born in April 2019. He visits the office a few days a week with his Mom & Dad where he can greet guests upon request. Most of the time he’s just a lazy pup.
Winnie The Kitty
Winnie is 2 year old and was born in September 2020. He mostly comes to the office to get mobile vet checkups, but he and Cooper are best friends!