BURIAL SERVICES

Traditionally, a burial service involves visitation, followed by a funeral service in a place of worship or the funeral home.  The casket is present at both of these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or closed.  You have a choice to have your loved one interred (earth burial), or to be entombed in a mausoleum (above ground burial).  Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing the type of burial.  Decisions need to be made regarding embalming for viewing, the type of casket and outer interment receptacle to be used, which cemetery to use and a cemetery monument.

Cemetery Types

Monumental Cemetery: A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground.  There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple to large and complex.

Memorial Garden Cemetery: A memorial garden cemetery is where each grave is marked with a small commemorative plaque that is placed horizontally at the head of the grave at ground-level.  Families can still be involved in the design and the information contained on the plaque, however in most cases the plaques are a standard design. 

Mausoleum: A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people. A concrete receptacle is not needed for this type of entombment. 

Columbarium: Columbarium walls are generally reserved for cremated remains.  While cremated remains can be kept at home by families or scattered somewhere significant to the deceased, a columbarium provides friends and family a place to come to mourn and visit. 

Burial FAQ

Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs.  A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing of your loved one.  Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture.  Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.  Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community.  Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?

We think of cemetery lands as being perpetual.  There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

How soon after or how long after a death must an individual be buried?

There is no law that states a specific time from for burial.  Considerations that will affect timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations.  Public heath laws may have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. 

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried or cremated?

No.  Embalming is a choice which depends if the casket is to be open for viewing of the body or if there is to be an extended time between death and internment.  Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, each state and country have their own laws.  Funeral homes may have their own rules on embalming and viewing a body.

What are burial vaults and grave liners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed.  Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass.  A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Must I purchase a burial vault?

Some cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes.  Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.