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Most of the families we serve prefer to bury the remains of their loved ones in a cemetery. Cremation is another way of disposing of human remains. It consists of reducing the body to small skeletal fragments, by subjecting the body to intense heat for several hours in a cremation chamber. These fragments are then pulverized, so they resemble ashes, and placed in a container, usually an urn. Following are often asked questions about cremation.


Is a cremation ceremony different from a traditional funeral ceremony?
It can be different, but it can also be the same.

Many families have a visitation and and/or funeral ceremony with the body present, just like with earth burial. After the ceremony, rather than having a procession to the cemetery, the funeral home takes the remains to the crematory. If the ashes are to be buried in a cemetery, the family usually has a committal ceremony later.

Other families prefer that the body not be present at any ceremonies. Then the funeral home usually takes the remains to the crematory as soon as the legal documents can be secured. Most families will then have a memorial ceremony or gathering, possibly with the urn on display.


Are more people choosing cremation today?
Cremation is becoming more popular, especially in metropolitan areas. However, most of the families we serve still prefer earth burial. People in Sioux County are closely tied to the land. Also, our cemeteries have ample space and remain very reasonably priced, compared to those in cities.


UrnsWhat may we do with the ashes?
In this area, there are basically three options: bury them in a cemetery, keep them at home, or scatter them. If you bury them in a cemetery, you will probably want to use an urn and you may want to have an urn vault. You will probably want to have a committal ceremony along with the burial. Some cemeteries require that a separate grave be used for each urn. Other cemeteries will allow two urns to be buried in the same grave. Some cemeteries will allow an urn to be buried in the already occupied grave of a relative. However, they may have restrictions on a second marker.

If you keep them at home, such as on your fireplace mantel or in a cupboard, you will want to place the ashes in an urn. We have many urns on display, made out of a variety of materials.

Some people will scatter the ashes in a favorite location, such as a garden or lake. Although, the state of Iowa does not yet have any laws governing the scattering of ashes, scattering should be done with sensitivity for others who may use the same area for recreation. Also, psychologists recommend having a specific place for the ashes, such as a cemetery.


Is a casket required?
A casket is not required for just a cremation. However, if a casket has been used for a visitation or funeral, then the casket, with the body inside, is usually cremated. Although any casket can be used for cremation, we have on display caskets specifically designed for cremation, which are completely combustible.

Crematory personnel are not allowed to have any direct contact with human remains. Therefore, if a casket is not used, the body still needs to be placed in a sturdy, completely enclosed container. We have in stock an alternative container for this purpose.


Do you rent caskets?
Yes, we have a casket which may be rented. After using it for the viewing and / or service, the remains are transferred to an alternative container for the cremation.


Is embalming required?
In the state of Iowa, a body does not have to be embalmed if it is buried or cremated within 72 hours of death. If you do not want any public viewing, and all of the necessary legal documents can be acquired within 72 hours, then the body does not have to be embalmed.


Is a funeral director required?
A funeral director licensed by the state of Iowa is necessary to care for the remains and complete the legal requirements. Also, we will assist you with radio announcements and newspaper obituaries, as well as coordinate all of the other providers involved in the ceremonies you request.


Does cremation cost less than burial?
The actual act of cremating the body in a crematory costs about the same as opening and closing a grave in a cemetery.

If you have a complete traditional funeral ceremony, the cost will be about the same, whether we go to a cemetery or crematory. However, if you do not have complete preparation of the remains nor a visitation and/or ceremony, the cost will of course be less, although this is true of earth burial as well as cremation. For example, our service fees for a direct cremation are similar to that for an immediate burial.


Do you have your own crematory?
No, we do not have a crematory. The cost would be prohibitive for the number of cremations we are asked to do. However, we have access to several crematories, where we are able to supervise the process and know that it meets quality standards.