Located at 100 E. Carroll Street on the eastern edge of town, Mindy, Michael and sister-in-law Blanche Catteau have owned and operated Pawnee Monument since 2009.
After Mindy and Michael Catteau Sr. lost their son, Michael Jr. the building where Michael Jr’s business was located was open. Left with the heart wrenching loss of their son and an empty building, this business opportunity seemed to be the right one to fill the building, and help others going through what they had experienced. Today the Catteau family explains, “We feel we can help families through this difficult time as we too know how devastating it is to lose a family member.”
Pawnee Monument is an associate location operated under the Peoria Monument Company. While Pawnee Monument has the small town touch, they have the buying power and ability to deal with a large company behind them. Pawnee Monument’s parent company is Weiss Monument Works out of Belleville, Illinois. “Our company offers 85 years experience with 10 main locations and 17 associate locations.”
When the Catteaus decided to go into the business, the parent company liked the location of the building. “It worked out for all of us,” Mindy said. “We’ve met a lot of nice families. It’s nice to know when we’ve helped somebody.”
Picking a monument can be a difficult thing to do. Mindy explained deciding the size, color, design and lettering all play a part. Pawnee Monument offers a variety of stones: slant, bevel, flush, upright, family estates, laser etching, special shapes and benches.
They also offer stone restoration and repairs. Sometimes a customer will bring in a stone that needs fixed and that is a service they can offer. “Sometimes stones get knocked over.”
Pawnee Monument makes it easy for their customers. “We travel within a 60 mile radius for no charge. For elderly women and men we will go there to their homes.”
Mindy shared a story about a woman in a nursing home who said no one would come to see her. “She was so grateful that someone would come to her.”
“Have monument will travel,” Mike quipped.
When picking out a stone, Mindy said, “Everyone is different and has an idea of what they want.”
As far as the etchings, Mindy said this can be done only on black granite. If you have a picture design in mind they can do that. Stones can be simple or ornate. There is even a stone with a hand carved leaning angel that can be ordered as well!
Pre-planning helps before deciding on the stone. “When coming in, it is best to know where your grave(s) are located,” Mindy said. “The number of plots owned - all pertinent information like full names and dates, location of plots in the cemetery and any artwork or photos you would like incorporated into the memorial. We are here to help you through this process and help you design a beautiful memorial for your loved one.”
Sometimes customers come in just to get a quote, other times they come in to order. “We will do price matching and offer discounts for shopping local,” Mindy said.
Pawnee Monuments has worked with cemeteries like Pana, Zion, Bethany, Rochester Harval, Horsecreek and Calvary in Pawnee,” Mindy said. Visitors stop on a regular basis that have loved ones buried in Horsecreek and Calvary wanting to find their loved ones graves. Since these cemeteries are small, with no groundskeepers on site, and they have a map, the Catteaus often help them find their loved ones plot.
Customers from all over central Illinois order stones from Pawnee Monument. While many customers are in person, some do everything over the phone or by email. It is amazing how tricky the job can be sometimes Mike said. Recently they matched a stone for a family from 80 years ago. While not always possible, they were excited to make it happen for this particular family. Making families happy with their purchase and creating the perfect stone is the end goal.
Purchasing a stone is a timely endeavor. First a computer drawing is completed then the family checks the drawing to ensure names and dates are correct. “They check it over and look at the drawing. You can make any changes you want. Then approve the drawing. It is then three to four months for the imported marble to come in and weather and customs play a part,” Mindy added.
Once the stone arrives placing it is next. “If there is snow on the ground we have to wait. We can’t make ruts in the cemetery.”
“This is the last thing you can do for someone and it’s final,” Mindy said. This Pawnee business has been around for a decade and they offer service, kindness and a professional touch.
Open Monday – Friday from 9-5 and Saturday from 9 to noon and Saturday and Sunday afternoons by appointment. Call 217-625-3337 for more information.