In 1945 in San Jose, California, Donald J. Lima Sr. established what was known as Lima Salmon Erickson Memorial Chapel by bringing on two partners, Ralph Salmon Sr. and Gilmore Erickson. As years progressed, Mr. Lima became the sole owner of the establishment, and when his children graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science together in 1971, the name was changed to Lima Family Erickson Memorial Chapel. In 1974, Mr. Lima purchased Harmon A. Smith Funeral Home and changed its name to Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary.
The Lima Family Mortuaries developed a reputation of compassionate, caring service and set a standard of providing service beyond expectation. Mr. Lima went on to open Cedar Lawn Memorial Park and Lima Family Milpitas-Fremont Mortuary and developed one of the largest family-owned funeral homes in California.
In 1950, Mr. Lima placed animated characters as a small holiday display in front of the Lima Family Erickson Memorial Chapel on Willow Street in San Jose, drawing spectators young and old. The display became so popular that in 1970, it was donated to the City of San Jose which erected the display on the lawn of City Hall for several years. The display was then moved to a downtown park now known as Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The display now consists of 60 musical and animated exhibits, including the Lima Train, known today as "Christmas in the Park," which draws more than 450,000 people during the four-week holiday season.
Today, Gus V. Lima, a second generation Lima who has worked at the locations since the age of 12, continues the Lima tradition along with his daughter, Nicole M. Lima. At Lima Family Mortuaries, we’re proud to proclaim, “Our family serving your family since 1945.”