Crematoriums putting more of the budget into high-tech burial tools
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2012 -- Area funeral homes are adding cremation services as more people opt out of traditional burial.
During the past year, funeral homes in Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge, and Akron have added crematories or plan to do so.
Ken Shoemaker, co-owner of Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, said “While we see the value of traditional funeral services, we can now offer cremations on site.” The company operates the only crematory in Cuyahoga Falls, which opened last spring.
Shoemaker said the number of customers choosing cremation has increased from 15% a decade ago to 30% today, which reflects state and national figures.
The Clifford-Shoemaker funeral home, which Ken co-owns with his wife Marty and son Steve, took out a $500,000 loan to install the crematory in an existing space behind the business’ main building.
It features a computerized cremation unit and a viewing room. The outside was painted to blend in the existing building.
“It’s a major investment, but I think it will be worth it in the long run. It makes us self-sufficient,” Ken Shoemaker said.
He said adding a crematory is aimed at ensuring the business’ long-term success given increasing demand, a view shared by other funeral home owners.
The Clifford-Shoemaker funeral home started in Cuyahoga more than 100 years ago. The late
William H. Clifford, Marty Shoemaker’s father, bought the business in 1958. In 1989, it was renamed after both families.
The Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home in Akron also reports an increased number of cremations. The business will open a crematory next year, said funeral director Jim McKnight.
The Donovan Bagnoli Funeral Home in Tallmadge installed a crematory last year. The Redmon Funeral Home in Stow is seeking city approval to add a crematory, which is not allowed by the current zoning code.
This year the Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory in Fairlawn updated its crematory, first installed in 1984, with computerized equipment. Funeral director Ann Billow Grebelsky said the number of families choosing cremation has increased from 10% to 40% since she began working there.
According to the Cremation Association of North America, a cremation and basic funeral costs up to $3,000. A traditional funeral, which includes embalming, ceremony, hearse, casket, and vault can cost more than $7,500.
Another reason an increasing number of cremations is a 1997 decision by The Vatican allowing funeral Mass with cremated remains present. The Vatican has allowed cremations since 1963, although some faiths continue to prohibit them.
The Cremation Association of North America, based in Wheeling, Ill, reports about 37% of Ohio families opted for cremation last year. In 2005, the figure was 27%. Nationally, 42% of families chose cremation, an increase from 26% in 2000.
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