Dan Ciha – Owner, Funeral Director

Dan CihaDan started working at the funeral home when he was just 16 after one of his high school classes toured what was then called the George L. Gay Funeral Home on Careers Day. Something sparked inside him that afternoon. The next day he called Mr. Gay and asked him if he would hire a high school kid to work part-time. He did. He hired Dan for the summer, which turned into a career that has spanned the last 36 years.

Following graduation from West High School, Dan attended University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College and Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science. Upon completion of his schooling, Dan returned to Iowa City, completed his internship and received his license. In 1986, Dan accepted an offer to purchase and operate Christensen, a funeral home in northwest Iowa.

In 1997, an employment opportunity drew Dan back to the Iowa City area. During this time, The Gay family approached Dan to return to the George L. Gay Funeral Home. Dan and his wife, Colette, purchased the funeral home from the Gay family in September of 2001 and it became Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service.

Together, Dan and Colette have seven children: Adam, Megan, James, Andrew, Thomas, Joseph, and Elec. They are also the proud grandparents of Mia. They consider themselves to be ‘The Brady Bunch’ without Alice! Living in a farmhouse in the north part of Coralville, they enjoy their time outdoors canoeing, kayaking, bicycling and annually riding their tandem bike in RAGBRAI. They relax by working in the yard and gardens, cutting firewood, picking up farm rocks and sharing time with family, their two large dogs – Lily and Moon – and multiple barn cats.


“I have been blessed with a career that I truly love, one that I have had some of the finest mentors in the profession to learn from. I deal with life. The person who has died, has lived. My service to the family is remembering and celebrating that life to the world.

Whether it is a small child that dies before their birth or a 103 year old grandmother that has witnessed much in her lifetime, all deserve to be recognized and cared for.”