Retire VA 2019 - 24

of disposing of dead lab animals. In this
process everything but the bones are
dissolved in a solution and the bones are
crushed into dust and returned to the
family.
Green burial: An un-embalmed body is
wrapped in a biodegradable material,
usually a cloth, and buried on the
family property. The body, with proper
locality permission, can be buried on
the family's property, but that makes the
home difficult to sell, since the grave is
permanent. Many funeral homes offer the
option, but in our neck of the woods, it's
rarely used at this point.
Burial fluids of essential oils: Families can
choose this rather than harsh embalming
fluids, and can bury the departed in
cloth or a light wood-say, pine, or even
a wicker casket, which Oakey's Funeral
Service President Sammy Oakey shows
off in the casket display room at Oakey's
downtown. Washington state will offer
human composting beginning next year,

How They're Burying
Mom and Dad
We asked a variety of people of from our
region how they have gone about sending
their relatives to the next beyond and
here's what they had to say:
Sandra Mccown: "Dad's casket looked
like Mr. Spock's casket on 'Star Trek.' We
were fans. For me, I'm doing a natural
burial, no embalming or makeup or
anything else."
Jeff Taylor: "Been to two Parrot Head
Funerals. We wore tropical attire, drank
tropical drinks and played Jimmy Buffet
tunes."
24 / Retire-VA.com / RETIRE-VA 2020

the first state to do so. It will cost $5,000,
hardly a bargain, but certainly friendlier to
the environment.
Donation to science: This has become
routine for some families; so routine, in
fact, that funeral homes will arrange it,
says Oakey. Donating bodies for research
or teaching costs nothing and the family
gets back cremated remains for the
mantle or for burial, its choice. Oakey
says funeral homes will help arrange for
the transfer to a facility that uses bodies.
Medcure.com (phone: 1-866-560-2525) can
help, as well. "It represents maybe 2-4%"
of Oakey's activity.
In any case, the Roanoke area "is
still more conservative than the rest of
the country," says Oakey and some of
the trends will not be significant here
for a while. Still, he's seen a feast in a
graveyard, a motorcycle in a viewing
room, a full bar at a viewing and a
horse-drawn carriage (furnished by
Buck Simmons at Valley Funeral Home
and Cremation Service) used in several
services.

Tom Gerdy: "My parents' deaths were
16 hours apart and both were being
cremated. We asked the funeral home if
there was any kind of '2 for 1' deal. It was
sick but funny just the same. My parents
would have loved it."
Jan Keister: "My mother left two
matching urns which I ... sealed up with
a glue gun. I now have matching antique
urns with my parents' ashes. They wanted
to be remembered as they were when
alive, and would have thought spending
money on someone dead a waste."
Charlotte Pendleton: "We are taking
[her brother's ashes] to a favorite hunting
stand and a horse pasture in Ironto."
Jennifer Grover: "Husband Frank's ashes
are in a treasure chest on a bedroom

mantel. My Aunt Jane's ashes are still in a
red popcorn tin with puppies and kittens,
awaiting a time that her daughter decides
where to inter or sprinkle. Dad's ashes are
in the church columbarium."
Virginia Grace Abraham: "Some of
my mom's ashes were sprinkled under
watchful eye of the Wrigley Field
[Chicago Cubs stadium] staff around the
warning track-not on the field. I took
the remaining ashes to Audubon's Rust
Sanctuary. She loved nature as much as
the Cubs."
Susan Coryell: Her mom's ashes were
buried atop Dad's grave. Mom's comment
as she made this plan: 'He's not getting
away from me this time.'" -DS



Retire VA 2019

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