Touring a monument manufacturing facility might seem as though it’s just another industrial landscape: heavy machinery, infinite supply shelving, warehouse vastness, unusual smells, and loud sounds. The OM Stone facility in Hillsboro, Oregon contains all these elements, but the difference is that they are busy creating memorials for families’ loved ones and internationally-recognized monuments. Now run by the second-generation Bronleewe Family, Oregon Memorials was purchased in 1947 by Gordon Bronleewe, who at one time owned Hillsboro’s Fir Lawn Memorial Park. His son, now Vice President, Sam Bronleewe, was a Funeral Director and has made his career carrying on the tradition of Oregon Memorials, having led the re-branding to its current status, OM Stone. (The letters “o” and “m” are pronounced individually, lest a yoga practice inform you otherwise.)
OM Stone’s global presence is unassuming to the everyday citizen. With operations in Italy, some supply from India and China, and steadfast connections to the granite capital, Elberton, GA, this small company in Oregon has honed their offerings and adapted to technological changes in the monument industry without sacrificing quality, service and sensitivity to the reason why they are in business – to tend to the needs of grieving families. Offering a variety of memorialization options such as columbaria, headstones, civic art projects, and Glass Art ™, OM Stone’s custom memorial solutions are found not only in Oregon, Washington, and California, but worldwide, as well.
They employ artists, designers, customer service administrators, sales, and manufacturing/production staff. In the office, designer Tamara showed the computer design process, transfer to vinyl stencil, and stencil creation which is affixed to the granite and used in sandblasting the granite. Their sandblasting process uses pulverized repurposed ceramic ingots.
One of the commissions currently under production is the memorial for Earle Chiles. Sam demonstrated a hand-chiseling technique using tools he had acquired from a German sculptor. After the lettering is complete, an artist who has worked for OM Stone for 30 years, continues by finishing it with fine gold leaf. Such attention to detail and personal involvement in the monument production factor into the success of OM Stone maintaining its reputation of excellence in the monument industry.
Other examples of OM Stone’s work include the Humberston Mausoleum at Mt. Calvary Cemetery (Portland), Portland’s Central Library steps, New York’s Penn Station, California’s Museum of Science and Industry, and the IRS Building in Washington, DC, to name a few. If you are interested in learning more about how to partner with OM Stone for your wholesale supply needs, you may contact them here. Or, connect with them at our conference in Lincoln City, October 28-29, 2016. In fact, Sam said one of the most impressive cemeteries he’s seen is Taft Cemetery, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we’ll be. Better yet, join us for Sam’s headstone cleaning demonstration on Friday, October 28th at Eureka Cemetery in Newport.