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French brings funeral services to RR

RIO RANCHO – A local family-owned business has brought its special services to Rio Rancho.

French opened a 6,500-square-foot funeral and cremation home in late December at 1950 Pine Rd., just north of Northern off Unser.

Designed by SMPC Architects of Albuquerque and built by Klinger Constructors, the new facility has a chapel, reception area, showroom for caskets, urns and memorabilia items, and a spacious lobby that has a spectacular view of the Sandia Mountains.

French Rio Rancho
What: Funerals, cremations
Where: 1950 Pine Rd. NE, north of Northern off Unser
Phone: 338-2000 (answered 24 hours daily); Web: www.FrenchFunerals.com

Built-in moveable walls allow the chapel space to be opened up to accommodate up to 155 people. The walls can also be used to divide the reception space into smaller meeting rooms, said Tom Antram, President & CEO of French.

There are also plans to furnish a patio area outside the lobby as an outdoor reception area.

Antram said French has long been interested in having a Rio Rancho location to meet the needs of the growing population. The company bought the 3.5-acre site from Amrep.

“We hoped that this would be a forward-looking location,” Antram said.

French President and CEO Tom Antram shows some of the cards and registration books displayed in the selection room at the Rio Rancho facility.

The building design will allow for a 3,000-square-foot expansion, if needed. French also plans to develop a pie-shaped section site on the south side of the building beyond the parking lot as a burial garden specifically for urns.

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“We have no plans to do casket burials,” Antram said.

The facility is the sixth location for the company that was founded in 1907 by Chester T. French. There are four locations in Northeast Albuquerque and one on Golf Course on the West Side.

French has three full-time staff at the new Rio Rancho facility in addition to Funeral Director Kristian Schmidt, who lives in the city.

“We felt really good about having a Rio Rancho person leading this,” Antram said.

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