Keeping memories glowing


YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – Losing a loved one is hard. Having a special keepsake can help keep their memories alive. There’s one place in KELOLAND making unique mementos for just that, that can light up a room.

Rachel Ness and Alyssa Roth will never forget the memories they made with their mom.

She passed away in December after battling cancer for almost three years.

“She was quite literally the most unintentionally hilarious person, she didn’t know how funny she was, she was pretty great,” daughter, Rachel Ness said.

To help keep those memories close, they each got a candle made with flowers from their mom’s funeral service.

“The three girls, my sisters and myself, we got candles and I as a remembrance, mom picked out, she knew what she wanted for flowers and she was very specific with them so they were beautiful,” daughter, Alyssa Roth said.

“She was really specific of these are what I want, so it’s almost like she picked out these candles because they were the flowers she wanted,” Ness said.

Katie Wintz and Miranda Svatos are the ones who make the candles possible.

These two are the ones behind Candles to Remember.

“When we make these candles, typically it is out of casket spray flowers, or flowers from the funeral, or we have done a few brides that have done their bouquets,” owner Candles to Remember, Katie Wintz said.

The idea to bring this to Yankton came from Wintz’s father-in-law.

“We had a good friend who’s father passed away and at the visitation the funeral director asked if we would like a tour of the funeral home and as we were doing that we kept seeing these candles and my wife asked what they were, I immediately contacted that company the next day and began making the candles available to our families,” Funeral director Wintz and Ray Funeral Home, Jim Wintz said. “In 2014 we decided that we would make the candles ourselves and that’s how we became involved in making the candles.”

Katie Wintz has been the owner of Candles to Remember since then.

“Everyday is different so it’s kind of nice to come in and be like what do we get to make today,” Katie Wintz said.

And Svatos got involved about three years ago.

“I had no experience so I’m kind of learning along the way and it’s been a lot of fun, I’ve learned a lot, and I’m enjoying it, I’ve found my creative, crafty side,” design specialist, Miranda Svatos said.

The candles come in different shapes and sizes.

“We have a special process to dry them so they keep their color a little bit better and then once they are dried in about three weeks, we take them and put them in a mold, so that is our design process so we figure out certain flowers to go and what we have to use,” Katie Wintz said.

And while Wintz says they typically put flowers into the candles, she’s not afraid to try other items.

“We’ve done pictures, shotgun shells, we’ve done necklaces, rings, we do a lot of pheasant feathers, corn, ribbon, basically I will try to put whatever the family would like in their candle,” Katie Wintz said.

Funeral director Steve Wintz says these candles are another option for families.

“They have the question of what do we do with these flowers, and this is a neat way to re-purpose these flowers,” funeral director Wintz and Ray Funeral Home, Steve Wintz said. “That’s why we really like these candles because they’re a subtle reminder.”

And Wintz and Svatos say they’re making much more than candles.

“We have people come and tell us their stories, they talk to us on the phone and they pour their hearts out to us about their situation or loved ones that have passed away, so some of the stories really hit close to home and really tear at your heart, so it makes doing these candles that much more important to us,” Svatos said.

A keepsake not only preserving flowers forever, but also memories.

“Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile because it’s there and it has her picture next to it, and it’s just there’s my mom, it’s nice to have,” Ness said.

All of the candles are available with an electric light or fuel cell, so the candle won’t burn away.

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