Friday, July 16, 2010

Urns & Outs - July, 2010

In my years researching Cremation and its history, I’ve discovered a number of historic and notable Crematoria that have gained my respect. It’s easy to have respect for beautiful 75- to 125-year-old architecturally significant buildings which house (or housed) the early Crematories in our country.

Very seldom, though, do I come across a modern Crematory that piques my interest – they all tend to be the same: the metal building, modern Cremation equipment, staff dressed in work clothes. Don’t get me wrong – I have respect for these Cremation facilities (they all have their place in serving the Cremation needs of their patrons) and I’m certainly not disparaging their reputations, or wanting to cause question for their professionalism; but they often lack the aesthetic that is a cornerstone of the funeral profession.

One Cremation Company has changed the way I think of modern Cremation facilities. Earlier this year, on one of my frequent visits to St. Louis, I had the opportunity to visit St. Louis Cremation – a company that was founded in the early 1980’s that specializes in Cremation. Situated on Chouteau Avenue in an old school building, St. Louis Cremation has a very clean and modern facility. Their Chapel rivals that of any other modern funeral establishment and utilizes comfortable chairs rather than pews. Their company does about 1200 services annually, approximately 900 of which are Cremations. Those are pretty high numbers for any deathcare establishment. But on my unannounced tour, I noticed the care and cleanliness of the facility and especially of the Cremation equipment. I am very impressed with the facility and I think that many Crematory operators would do well to model their facilities after this one.

I don’t know about you, but I feel more comfortable when I visit a company that takes pride in their facilities. When I stay in a hotel, I notice the carpet and the furniture, and whether the halls are vacuumed or the drapes are updated. When a funeral or cremation company takes the time to update and maintain their grounds, their patrons will notice…

At least, that’s my perspective…
~ Jason