By: Laura Genouw
St. Johns Chapel, a Smith Family Funeral Home, located in St. Johns, Mich., has been handling the deaths of its community members since 1992 and says cremation is an increasingly popular choice following death.
According to statistics by the National Funeral Directors Association, in 2008 in the state of Michigan approximately 41 percent of deaths were handled through the process of cremation. The United States, as a whole, had about 36 percent.
The National Funeral Directors Association predicts that by 2015 the number of deaths ending in cremation will increase to 46 percent. By the year 2025, they predict that this number will rise to almost 59 percent.
Cremation is the process of reducing a body after death to bone fragments through the application of intense heat from a large oven called a retort. Although the number of people choosing cremation has increased significantly according to the Smith Family Funeral Homes, it holds many traditions and is relatively unchanged in the process.
Angela VanCore, a funeral director at the Smith Family Funeral Homes, began working at the funeral home in 2007 and is involved in all areas of funeral service, cremation included.
“Cremation is a difference in belief and a personal preference,” VanCore said. “We are becoming a mobile community, which may be cause for the increase in the choice for cremation.”
VanCore said that the baby boomer society and increased mobilization of our society are some of the main reasons there has been an increase in the popularity of cremation after death. She said many people still chose to use the tradition funeral proceeding with an open casket viewing but have the option to choose cremation after, instead of the tradition burial.
“Some like to keep the ashes,” VanCore said. “Some like to scatter them in special places. It’s all a matter of personal preference.”
National Funeral Directors Association – cremation statistics document
Angela VanCore – Smith Family Funeral Homes, Funeral Director