Cremation is becoming a popular alternative to the burial process.  Cremation is chosen because of one's comfort level, religious belief, the desire to preserve the environment or as requested by the person who died.  Cremation is when the remains are placed in a rigid container that is combustible; the container is then placed in a chamber where through intense heat both the remains and container are reduced to fragments that are then crushed and pulverized to resemble course sand.  

Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative means of disposition.

Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn.  There are other ways to dispose of ashes today; cremated remains can be placed in an artificial coral reef in the ocean,  launched into space, sent up in helium balloons, or they can be spun into glass pieces of art or diamonds.

Cremation FAQ

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. 

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

If a family chooses an open casket with visitation prior to cremation, embalming is required for sanitary reasons.  If the casket remains closed for a funeral service, embalming is not required.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.  Some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.

Can an urn be brought into church?


What can be done with the cremated remains?

While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.  In New York State, a cemetery is the only place cremains can not be scattered, they must be buried if they are placed in a cemetery.

How can I be sure I receive the correct cremains?

The Harris Funeral Home has developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service.  Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time,  it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect cremains.

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color.  

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law.  However, an urn may be desired if you choose to have a memorial service or if the cremains are to be buried in a cemetery.  If an urn is not purchased the cremains will be returned in a temporary container.