Enos Schwartzentruber wants to do something meaningful with his life by using the gifts his Creator provided for him. When Enos was younger, Mr. Jacob Stutzman taught him how to make fine furniture from rough lumber. Enos had a talent for the work and it gave him satisfaction. But the Amish community is rich with talented wood workers.
“I was looking for something unique to do,” he said. “I wanted to find a need in the community that no one else is responding to.”
At about that time, Enos was visiting the Ohio Amish community where he was born. The word went out that a young man had been killed in a buggy-truck collision and everybody was summoned to the home of the deceased to offer support to the family. As a wood worker, Enos was asked to help build the casket.
“Building that casket for my friend was a powerful experience,” Enos said.
Through that experience he found his calling.
Enos, Mary, and their family are no longer part of the Amish community; but in 2009, they established Living Hope Wood Work at their farm on County Road 11 between Sauk Centre and Long Prairie. Their specialty is well-made wooden caskets and urns constructed from red oak, pine, and Eastern red cedar.
Enos makes the caskets from scratch in his workshop using rough lumber purchased from nearby Amish sawmills. After he carefully applies a stain and a finish, Mary upholsters each casket. The finished caskets sell for $1,750 to $750. The urns sell for $150 for the cedar and $100 for the oak urn.
“Our prices are low because we don’t want to take advantage of people when they are vulnerable,” Enos said.
Sometime people will bring their own lumber for Enos to make a custom casket.
“I don’t think they are necessarily trying to save money,” he said. “It’s more like the particular lumber or tree was important to the deceased. It’s more a matter of heart than money.”
Living Hopes customers include a funeral home which carries their caskets regularly as well as many local non-Amish families. Enos has also delivered caskets to Minneapolis and even shipped one to Texas. He’s happy to show you the various models that he has in his show room or, given time, he can custom make a casket for you. To visit him he suggests that you call ahead at (320) 533-0611. You can also see photos of Enos building a casket at livinghopewoodcaskets.com.