Why choose cremation

  • Cremation is gaining widespread popularity for several unique reasons:
  • Simplicity & Dignity.
  • More Control for the Family
  • More Family and Church Involvement in Services and Ceremonies
  • Environmentally Sound
  • Immediate Return to Nature
  • Saves Land for the Living


Like more and more people today, you may be considering cremation as an economical alternative to ground burial. Planning for cremation doesn’t have to be a mystery! You can make informed decisions that will have positive benefits for you and your family. By choosing cremation, you are choosing a dignified method of arrangement that is affordable and allows you great flexibility in your choices of merchandise and services.

When a death occurs and cremation has been chosen, the cremation provider is called by a family member, caregiver, minister, or anyone the family chooses.

Once we receive your request, the deceased will be removed as specified in their pre-filed instructions. If no instructions are on file, one of our funeral directors will assist the next of kin in making all necessary decisions. Removal may be immediate, or as much as 18 hours after death. The time-frame is decided by the family.

Upon removal, the deceased is taken to the crematory and placed in storage for the period required by law before cremation can occur. The actual process of cremation itself normally takes two to three hours. Ashes typically weigh several pounds, and take up a space of approximately 150 to 200 cubic inches.

The cremated remains will be collected into a container after completion of the actual cremation process. Afterwards, the ashes are placed in a temporary container unless a permanent one has been selected, and are returned to the family or transported to another specified location.

Memorial Ceremonies and Graveside Services for Cremations:

Burch-Messier assists with the memorial or graveside services, or the scattering service for cremation procedures as allowed by state law. If you bury or place the cremated remains in a niche or columbarium, a permanent container is often used. The funeral director can assist the family in scheduling any viewing or ceremonies of remembrance that are to occur before the process of cremation, or any post-cremation memorial services, or scattering ceremonies.
As always Burch-Messier can help with the death certificate filing and notification to Social Security (and the Veterans’ Administration if the deceased was a veteran).

Frequently asked questions from

Q: I understand that more and more people are choosing cremation. Is this because the cost is lower?
A: While it is true that the cost of cremation is about 20% that of body burial, surveys indicate many people are choosing and planning cremation because of other factors. These include the simplicity and dignity of cremation services, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation offers in ceremony planning and in the disposition of the remains.

Q: Exactly what happens at the crematory?
A: The deceased is placed in a combustible box, which is used during refrigerated storage, and then placed intact in the cremation chamber. After cremation the remains are processed further by pulverization and then placed in the desired container. Family or clergy can choose to receive the cremated remains at the crematory or some other designated place.

Q: If cremation is chosen, must a funeral home be called at the time of death?
A: No. It is not necessary in most states to engage the services of a separate funeral home.

Q: What happens to medical devices such as hip implants and pacemakers?
A: Large fragments of metal that can readily be separated from the ashes are removed prior to pulverization. Pacemakers and implanted measured dose dispensing devices have an explosive risk, and are removed prior to cremation. Donated organs are removed according with the guidelines established by the medical facility.

Q: Is the deceased person cremated unclothed?
A: The deceased may be clothed as desired by the family. A military uniform, scholastic robe, or other special garment may be cremated. Often the special clothing is neatly folded and cremated with the deceased.

Q: Does a body have to be embalmed before cremation?
A: Embalming is a practical necessity only if there is a public viewing or a funeral with the body present. Most states do not require embalming.

Q: What do cremated remains that are returned to the family look like?
A: The quantity of cremated remains of an adult is comparable to the size of a 6 inch x 6 inch x 6 inch box or a large dictionary. The appearance resembles crushed seashells. Unless otherwise specified by the family the remains are returned in a plain temporary container. This container should not be used for permanent disposition of the cremated remains.

Q: If my family knows I want cremation, is that all I need to do in advance?
A: No. Just stating your wishes will not necessarily assure their being honored. To assure your wishes will be honored and to prevent your survivors from having to make decisions and arrangements at the time of your death, you can choose a cremation provider and prearrange your cremation. The cremation provider can also keep the personal data and authorizations which will be required for your death certificate, so that your survivors will not have to be asked for this information during an emotional time. You may also prepay the expenses of your cremation if allowed by state law.

Q: What advantage would there be in prepaying my cremation cost?
A: There are two major advantages of prepayment. First, you may be offered a discounted price and an inflation proof contract. This means that no further money will be due at any time. This financial advantage also will prevent your survivors from having to pay for your last expenses at a time when circumstances, such as a catastrophic illness, might have reduced their ability to pay without hardship. The second advantage is not related to cost. It has to do with the desire that many people feel the necessity to be independent and to take care of their own needs without placing the burden on others who will be grieving the loss of a loved one. This consideration also applies to people who feel it is likely that at the time of death, they will have no family members to take care of their final arrangements.

Q: My family may be willing to accept my plans for cremation, but they would like me to have a funeral service with the body present. Is this possible?
A: Yes, if such a funeral is desired, the deceased can be embalmed and placed in a ceremonial casket. With cremation the full funeral can be held without the expense of purchasing a casket or vault.

Q: If I don’t have a funeral with the body present, I would still like to have some sort of ceremony so that family, friends, and associates can gather to commemorate the event. What are my choices?
A: Cremation offers a wide array of ceremonies to choose from. A private or public visitation can be held before cremation is done. A memorial service can be held in a place of worship or at the cremation provider’s facility, with or without the cremated remains. This can be delayed as long as necessary after the death to allow family and friends to gather from distant locations. Some churches and retirement communities routinely handle these memorial services themselves, without the involvement of the cremation provider. Other possibilities include graveside services a the cemetery or columbarium. A scattering ceremony offers a personal touch only cremation can provide.