Want a funeral home you can trust? One that is not concerned about selling or making commissions? That doesn’t solicit your business?
You Have Come to the Right Place
Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service is a funeral home that has a tradition of service that is uniquely caring. Our entire focus is about the life that you wish to remember.
What You Get
You’ll get a warm welcome with a genuine smile and easy-to-understand explanations guiding you through the funeral process. You’ll meet with only professional funeral directors – no sales people, because we can give you personal assistance and support so that you feel reassured knowing that there’s someone you can count on to be there when you need them most.
About Our Philosophy
We’ve been told we have a home that feels comfortable where families feel at ease during a very difficult time. We’ve also been told we listened and took note of the specific details, those little things that make your loved one’s life uniquely their own.
What you need to know is this: At Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service we care about our families. We truly care.
“Our belief, our passion, and our promise to the families
that allow us to care for their loved ones is simply;
we will respect, celebrate, and care for your loved one,
as we would care for our own family.”
Contact us today. Tell us about what you’re looking for. Let’s talk about what we can do for you.
About Gay & Ciha
Ever wonder who is the person greeting you at the door or the person behind the voice answering your call? Now’s your chance to get to know the faces behind the scenes that make it all happen.
Dan 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.”
As an ordained minister for over 20 years, Colette currently serves as Worship Consultant for the Presbytery of East Iowa and online instructor in the Religion and Philosophy department at Buena Vista University.
As the parents of seven children and one grandchild, Dan and Colette strive for a healthy balance of focusing on family and love of the outdoors.
Both Dan and Colette share in the commitment to provide for the unique needs of each family during the loss of their loved one.
Having served Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in many capacities, Colette provides pastoral care and grief ministry as needed.
Adam is an Iowa City native, graduating from Iowa City’s West High School in 2002. During his junior year at West, Adam enlisted in the Iowa National Guard where he served with the 234th Signal Battalion out of Cedar Rapids. While attending Kirkwood Community College in 2003, much of the National Guard was mobilized as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, which took Adam and his unit to Iraq in early 2003. He served as a signal operator in and around Tikrit, Iraq, attached to the 4th and 1st Infantry Divisions and took part in numerous convoys/patrols throughout Iraq.
After the war, Adam went on to attend Kirkwood Community College and Des Moines Area Community College to earn his degree in Mortuary Science.
Adam has grown up around the funeral home, where he started out washing cars, mowing yards and helping with services on the weekends. He has been a part of the Gay & Ciha Funeral Service since 2001 and became a licensed funeral director in August of 2010.
One of my favorite parts of my career here at the funeral home is the unique way I get to interact with the families who come to us on a daily basis. For someone to trust their loved one into our care and come to me for assistance at the time of a death is a huge responsibility but also a very humbling notion. Knowing I have a chance to help that particular family in a way that can make their situation just a little better for them is a great privilege and presents a chance to help others in a way most will never experience.
Adam, his wife, Lisa and their two basset hounds, Ella and Estelle, have been a part of the Hills community since 2004. They just recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Mia and cherish every day spent with her.
You’ve probably talked to Lisa if you’ve called the funeral home. She is the person behind the voice most often answering your calls.
A native of Iowa City, Lisa graduated from Iowa City High School and then attended The University of Iowa where she received a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish. She was a substitute teacher in the Iowa City and Lone Tree school district for three years and worked full time at River City Dental Care up until the birth of her daughter, Mia.
After Mia’s birth, Lisa and Mia joined Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service, alongside her husband, Adam, father, Tom, and father-in-law, Dan.
The part I enjoy most about my job is creating memorial folders because I’m able to design a keepsake that memorializes and celebrates the life of the deceased. I pour my heart and soul into making these folders unique for each family.
Aside from working, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, her two basset hounds, Ella and Estelle, scrapbooking, reading, traveling and Iowa Football.
Tom Pederson, a lifetime resident of the Iowa City area and has been a part of Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service since March 2003. He loves the fact that every day is different at the funeral home, and his interactions with the families we care for.
Prior to working at the funeral home, Tom worked as a service manager at Wagner Pontiac Jeep and Eagle in Iowa City, for 30 years, where he won numerous outstanding customer service awards.
Tom enjoys deer hunting, fishing, working outdoors, and spending time with his family. More notably though is Tom’s passion for Iowa sports, specifically football and wrestling. Since 1967, Tom has only missed two home football games. He also takes great pride in cheering on his alma mater, Iowa City City High, during many of their football games.
Tom resides with his wife, Pat (Vedepo) and their three dogs, Chico, Toby and Catie near Riverside. They have two daughters, Kim Pederson and Lisa Ciha (Adam), and a granddaughter, Mia Ann Ciha, who is the twinkle in Grandpa’s eye!
If you’ve attended a visitation or funeral at the funeral home you have most likely been welcomed at the door by Janet.
Janet lives with her husband, John, on an acreage north of Iowa City. They are the proud parents of a daughter, a son-in-law and a grandson.
Over the years she has pursued many interests including: raising bees, sewing, including quilt making, furniture refinishing, gardening and bread making.
To date Janet has embarked on two major projects; cooking entire meals on her kitchen fireplace and baking breads, especially flat breads from different countries, in the outside bread oven that her husband built.
Janet started working for Gay & Ciha in 2004 and she loves working at the funeral home because it has given her the opportunity to meet many lovely people.
Jill is the musical talent at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation. Jill’s musical roots began in West Branch, Iowa and continued at the University of Iowa where she studied music education. She was a member of the Old Gold Singers and the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band.
Her musical talents have allowed her to travel all across the United States and abroad. Her passion for living in the country and desire to be close to her family drew her back to the West Branch area.
“It’s a blessing to be able to share something special with the family through my music.”
Born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Iowa, David is a graduate of the University of Iowa and taught with the Iowa City Community School District for 36 years in elementary special education.
He and his wife, Jane, have two married daughters in the area, and Dave would be quick to say that his #1 calling is being grandpa.
As support staff at Gay & Ciha Funeral Home, David enjoys working with a committed staff to extend compassionate service to families and their friends. In addition to serving at the funeral home, he works part-time with Guest Services at UIHC.
Active in the music and men’s ministries at his church, David also likes to read and always has a home-improvement project or two underway.
As a native of Omaha, Joe became an Iowan when he moved to Ames to attend college. There he discovered God’s purpose for his life. He met his wife, Shirley, started his cleaning business and began his family.
Since he moved to Iowa City in 2003, he has helped start a church, serves as a pastor, has added a child to his family and continues to run a successful cleaning business. He enjoys the outdoors, especially when he is refereeing soccer.
“Everyone’s life is significant and unique. I appreciate being able to honor and celebrate those lives at a critical time.”
Ellen is a lifetime resident of Oxford, where she and her husband, Carl, raised eight children. She is proud to claim seventeen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren.
Ellen retired after 27 years from her career as a nursing assistant in the Pediatrics Department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. After retiring she started her own in-home daycare where she was a caretaker for more than five years.
Ellen has been with Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service for over nine years and she says what she loves most is working with the staff and all the families we care for.
Mary Gehris is a native and lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids until recently moving to Iowa City in 2010 when she married her husband, Tim, who works for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Together along with their children they frequent farmers markets, art and music festivals, and numerous Regina school events and activities.
Mary is excited about becoming more involved with the local community and loves the rich and unique culture that Iowa City has to offer. A new grandma, she also spends free time with her grandson, Kiya, in Cedar Rapids, who recently turned 3 years old.
“I am drawn to Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service because of the genuine love, respect and caring that I feel when I walk in the door to assist Dan or Adam with a service. Everyone here has a passion for what we do, serving families at a critical time in their lives, ensuring that they are as comfortable and worry free as possible, whatever that takes. It is a mission, an honor and a privilege to be here for families and to be associated with those who feel the same way.”
Linda was born and raised in Iowa City. Having attended Iowa City Community Schools from grades kindergarten thru 12, she’s never had any intention of leaving the community. She received her degree in Cosmetology in 1971. She has owned and operated her salon, Accent On Beauty for over 43 years.
After losing her father at a young age, Linda was drawn to working at a funeral home. She recalls staring up at Gay’s Funeral Home located on the big hill. It was stately, yet warm and welcoming. Seventeen years ago, Linda applied for a greeter position at Gay Funeral Home. She was seeking a change in routine from her salon. She was hired to assist with funerals and visitations, as well as wash cars and run errands. In 2001, Linda “retired” from the funeral home to care for her granddaughter full-time. After realizing how much she missed her second home, Linda returned to Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service one week later! Today she continues to style hair on weekends and evenings after her grandchildren have gone home.
Together with her husband, Ronald, she has four children and 11 grandchildren. Linda values time spent with her family. Her hobbies include genealogy, reading about history and gardening.
“I am honored and blessed to style your loved one’s hair for the last time. I study their photographs carefully and lovingly strive to get every last detail ‘just right’. Styling hair at Gay & Ciha’s has brought me joy and peace. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in the career that I love.”
Taylor is passionate about her career as a funeral director – more motivated than she ever thought possible! Having been presented with the great opportunity to work at Gay and Ciha Funeral Home, she finds herself learning something new every day and smiles knowing that she has helped people in difficult times.
Born and raised in West Branch, Iowa, Taylor will soon graduate from Coe College with a double major in psychology and biology with a minor in communications. The most memorable part of her college career has been her involvement in cross-country, track and choir. She has worked at Finkbine Golf Course for the past four years and loved every minute.
“Aside from my work, studies and training for road races, I value the time I spend with family and friends. Without them, I would not be half of what I am today!”