Traditional Arrangements

The term traditional funeral refers to a time of visitation and/or casketed viewing of a deceased (when possible), followed by a funeral ceremony, and earth burial. The time frame of these scheduled events and whether they are public or private is strictly at the discretion of the family. Embalming is not required by law, but is necessary when a family chooses to have their loved one viewed by visitors. When a family chooses to have their loved one viewed in this setting, embalming is required. If a family declines embalming of the deceased, when possible a time for a brief private viewing and/or identification may be arranged.

Many people ask why embalming is necessary, and the answer is really quite simple. When a person passes away, the body begins a process of decomposition. Arterial embalming is a technique that allows licensed professionals to temporarily stop the body’s natural decomposition process, eliminating the need for immediate burial/refrigeration/cremation, and allowing families the option of inviting friends to share in viewing the deceased prior to final disposition.

In the most traditional realm, a visitation/viewing (usually two to four hours in length) is scheduled a day or evening before the ceremony; but families can choose to have a visitaion/viewing, ceremony, and burial within a single day if they prefer. Other options would be to have the visitation/viewing and ceremony one day with burial the following day, or schedule a time of private viewing and burial followed by a public visitation/memorial service; or even a simple graveside ceremony without or with viewing (weather may be a determining factor). Other circumstances that could affect scheduling are the travel needs and availability of the family OR the travel time between the place of ceremony and location of the cemetery.

Traditional/Cremation Arrangements

The term “traditional funeral” refers to a time of visitation and/or casketed viewing of a deceased (when possible), followed by a funeral ceremony, and earth burial. Cremation puts a little twist into the concept of a traditonal funeral ~ rather than transporting a deceased to a cemetery for burial following services, cremation is accorded, thus the term “Traditional Cremation”.

Traditional Cremation is much the same as Traditional Arrangements in that the time frame of visitation / viewing / ceremony, and whether they are public or private is strictly at the discretion of the family. However, if the family also wants a cemetery / mausoleum committal ceremony, prior to publically announcing any arrangements the funeral home must have properly signed cremation authorizations in hand. In other words, we do not want to publicize burial / inurn ment of cremated remains if we don’t already have properly signed authorizations for cremation of the deceased. In Missouri, cremation requires dual authorization. The legal Next-of-Kin and the Physician / Coroner must sign appropriate authorization forms.

Combining traditional arrangements with cremation can be more economical when properly approached:

  1. Eliminates the need for an outer burial container for casketed burial
  2. If the intent of a family is to keep the cremated remains, it would eliminate the need for a grave space, grave opening, and grave marker.
  3. Can potentially decrease the cost of a casket, as the family may opt to use a ceremonial (rental) casket, a cloth-covered casket, or an alternative viewing casket.

Some reasons for combining traditional arrangements with cremation might include: the family doesn’t plan to permanently reside in the immediate area and they want to take their loved one with them; maybe the deceased didn’t like the concept of earth burial; the deceased wants to be buried in a family plot located in a different state and personally delivering cremated remains or mailing them is much less expensive than transporting a body.

Cremation

For families choosing Cremation as an immediate form of disposition, a brief time to privately view their loved one may be arranged. If this cannot be arranged in a timely manner, embalming may be required for viewing. However, there are times when embalming isn’t possible.

Cremation can be arranged as an immediate dispoosition of the body or it may be combined with Traditional Arrangements (embalming, viewing, visitation, and funeral). In Missouri, cremation requires dual authorization. The legal Next-of-Kin and the Physician / Coroner must sign appropriate authorization forms.

Urns are used to hold cremated remains. Urns may be constructed out of basic materials like cardboard or plastic, or out of more protective materials like ceramics, woods, or metals.

Some families choose to have a time of visitation and/or memorial service in conjunction with cremation. A memorial service is one where the physical body of the deceased is not present, but often photos of the deceased, their personal memorbelia, maybe a memorial DVD, and/or an urn are displayed. These services can be planned before or after the cremation process; and they can be held at the funeral home, a church, in a home, or in a private venue such as the meeting place of a civic club. Funeral staff may be engaged to assist in planning and hosting the arrangements or the family can opt to personally plan and oversee the arrangements.

If the family intends to bury or entomb the cremated remains, they sometimes choose to have a committal ceremony at a cemetery (much like a committal service for traditional earth burial). A cemetery committal would be restricted to daylight hours and subject to rules of the cemetery. The cemetery may require supervision of a licensed funeral director, and some cemeteries require a permanent urn for inurnment in a niche space (above-ground mausoleum space) or an urn vault for earth burial of cremated remains.

Provided the appropriate parties are available to sign any applicable authorization forms, some cemeteries will permit cremated remains to be buried in the grave space of a close relative, i.e. son’s cremated remains placed in the same grave space as a parent. This situation could potentially cause a delay in scheduling, so when possible, it’s best if addressed in advance.

Embalming

Embalming is not required by law, but when a family chooses to have their loved one viewed during a time of visitation, embalming is required.  Many people ask why embalming is necessary and the answer is really quite simple.  When a person passes away, the body begins a process of decomposition.  Arterial embalming is a technique that allows licensed professionals to temporarily stop the body’s natural decomposition process, eliminating the need for immediate burial/refrigeration/cremation, and allowing families the option of inviting friends to share in viewing the deceased prior to final disposition.

If a family declines embalming of the deceased, when possible, a time for a brief private viewing and/or identification may be arranged.

Direct Burial

This term refers primarily to how the body of the deceased is handled. It’s most commonly used when, in advance a person decides they prefer not to be embalmed; or at need, a family decides against embalming. This could be arranged much like a visitation and memorial service when a deceased has been cremated, and burial could be coordinated either before or after the arrangements.

Sometimes traditional arrangements (no viewing) can be accomplished without embalming (provided refrigeration is readily available). Under certain circumstances, this may require the purchase of a sealing casket.

Direct Burial may also be a viable option when there are no formal arrangements, but cremation isn’t an option.

If you believe this may be an option for you or a loved one, we suggest scheduling a time to discuss your needs with a funeral director.

Out Of Town Arrangements

When the need arises to coordinate transportation of a deceased to or from our service area, it’s sometimes necessary for us work with a funeral home or mortuary service in the area where the death occurred or in the area where final disposition will be (depending upon arrangements selected). Often, circumstances surrounding a death and the needs of the family dictate the need for particular services. Naturally, these details are confusing and intimidating for families, but once a family clearly communicates their wishes (traditional, cremation, or a combination of both), a licensed funeral director can usually pull these details together in a prompt fashion. Determining the most expeditious and most economical form of transportation is often less frustrating and less time consuming than obtaining applicable permits and authorizations that must be filed and sent with a deceased prior to transportation.

Depending upon the distance, transportation is provided by a funeral vehicle and/or commercial airlines. Additional transportation charges may be incurred. For example, transporting a deceased loved one via commercial airlines presents the expense of air cargo and an appropriate travel container for the deceased. Forwarding cremated remains may be accomplished through the U.S. Postal Service, adding only a minimal cost.

If you have concerns regarding Out-of-Town Arrangements and wish to discuss them in advance, please call. We are happy to gather information and offer options for your consideration.  (888) 434-2414

Cemeteries

McCombs Funeral Home does not own a cemetery; but within the counties of Southeast Missouri, there are several large municipally owned cemeteries; many cemeteries affiliated with churches; hundreds of the family cemeteries some of which have reached capacity; some privately owned cemeteries, a few of which also contain a mausoleum for above ground entombment.

Each cemetery is at liberty to establish its own rules and requirements. For instance, it is not the state or the funeral home that requires the purchase of an outer burial container or a particular type of grave marker. Those requirements are strictly up to the cemetery.

Most municipally owned and privately owned cemeteries are equipped with staff to assist families seeking to purchase burial/mausoleum/niche spaces. Niche spaces are sized to accommodate cremated remains. Church and family cemeteries are typically administered by a church committee, or cemetery board. Families seeking to purchase lots in these types of cemeteries typically connect with a funeral director who can provide current contact information for them.

Prices and fees vary from cemetery to cemetery. For instance, the purchase price for a space in a municipal cemetery may be less expensive for a resident than a non-resident. Some cemeteries offer various price points depending upon location of the space. The price paid for a grave space does not include the cost of a marker/monument or its installation; and the price paid for a grave space does not include the cost of opening the space when needed.   Typically, there is an additional charge to open a grave on weekends.

It is rare to find a cemetery that doesn’t have the minimum requirement of a concrete grave liner for casketed burial.   Grave liners are not “sealing” conainers. Therefore, some families perfer a vault, which is a heavier sealed container, generally made from concrete or steel. Cemeteries require the use of an outer burial container because they prevent longterm settling of the ground. Every new grave will encounter a period of settling. Depending upon weather, location of the grave (flat or sloped), and grounds-keeping practices, some graves may take 12-18 months to completely settle; but ultimately a concrete grave liner supports the weight of the ground and protects the casket it contains.

Monument styles and installation requirements also vary from cemetery to cemetery. Some cemeteries permit only ground-style markers and some cemeteries permit any type of marker or monument as long as its dimensions are within their guidelines. Those choosing mausoleum or niche burial are restricted to a certain type of plaque.

The width and length of graves are not the same in every cemetery, and some cemeteries have precise specifications as to how stones must be installed. A few cemeteries even have certain sections for upright monuments and certain sections for ground–style markers. Before purchasing a marker/monument, it’s wise to confer with a funeral director or the cemetery to discuss the particulars.

Local Cemeteries