Saturday, August 2, 2008


I was recently quoted in the Charleston Gazette, July 28, 2008 Potpourri. The brief editorial only quoted a portion of my article “Analyzing the Cost of a Funeral” and offered neither a fair nor balanced opinion nor did this writer offer factual data to the readers. It was nothing more than his strong personal opinion.

I have attached the actual article as is appeared. I have also attached a cremation checklist from CANA, Cremation Association of North America that every cremation family will find helpful.

If you notice in the checklist that in the fourth advice point it states “Do not choose a firm based solely on price” The Charleston Gazette contradicts in this article what CANA suggest the cremation consumer should do. We all know that we get what we pay for with regard to merchandise and services. Cremation services and merchandise is no different. In death there are no "DO-OVERS" so it's important to make certain that the final arrangments of our loved ones no matter what form of final disposition and services we choose meets or exceeds our emotional and finacial needs.

Potpourri: July 28, 2008
The average cost of an American funeral rose from $4,800 in 1996 to $6,200 in 2006, according to burial expert Fred Kitchen. This consumes a lot of money that families could use for college expense or other needs of the living. Cremation is much cheaper, barely over $1,000 for families who negotiate. If West Virginia had a vigorous nonprofit cremation society, the price might be reduced still further. Other states enjoy such cost-cutting groups. Why has none succeeded in the Mountain State?

Cremation checklist

Advice from the Cremation Association of North America on how to choose a cremation service.

• Select a reputable firm.

• Ask friends/coworkers what they know about them.

• Seek advice from your clergy.

• Do not choose a firm based solely on price.

• Determine what type of services you would like. The type of service you request will determine the cost.

Options include:

• Cremation with visitations and embalming

• Cremation/Rental casket

• Memorial service

• Church service

• Direct cremation with no service

When you have chosen a firm, ask the following questions:

• Which crematory do they use?

• Who owns the crematory facility?

• How often do they inspect that facility?

• Are licenses and permits current?

• How many operators do they have and what type of training do they require? Are they CANA certified?

• Does the crematory have refrigeration?

• How long does the crematory hold the body prior to cremation?

• Does the crematory have liability insurance?

• Does the crematory facility allow witnessing by family members?

Your provider should be happy to answer all questions you may have. If they are unwilling to provide any answers or documents you have requested, find a provider that will.

SOURCE: The Cremation Association of North America at

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