Kathryn Sullivan-Jones
B: 1946-10-20
D: 2019-02-06
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Sullivan-Jones, Kathryn
Lynton Bourne
B: 1933-01-05
D: 2019-02-06
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Bourne, Lynton
John McGee
B: 1930-03-09
D: 2019-02-05
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McGee, John
Carissa Robinson
D: 2019-02-02
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Robinson, Carissa
Willa Higgins
B: 1927-02-19
D: 2019-01-30
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Higgins, Willa
Charles Mitchell III
B: 1950-01-03
D: 2019-01-29
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Mitchell III, Charles
Betty Barnett
B: 1931-05-16
D: 2019-01-19
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Barnett, Betty
Jennette Griffin
B: 1946-10-10
D: 2019-01-18
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Griffin, Jennette
B: 1941-05-11
D: 2019-01-15
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Clarence Laster
B: 1935-07-08
D: 2019-01-14
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Laster, Clarence
Bessie Bryles
B: 1914-07-09
D: 2019-01-14
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Bryles, Bessie
Bettie McClain
B: 1935-08-05
D: 2019-01-13
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McClain, Bettie
Harvey Mc Murray
D: 2019-01-10
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Mc Murray, Harvey
Richard Vaughns
B: 1947-04-30
D: 2019-01-05
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Vaughns, Richard
Dovey Hicks
B: 1949-09-28
D: 2018-12-27
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Hicks, Dovey
James Allen
B: 1959-08-28
D: 2018-12-18
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Allen, James
Ella Braddock
D: 2018-11-21
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Braddock, Ella
Arthur McIver
B: 1951-08-06
D: 2018-11-11
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McIver, Arthur
Charles Freeny
D: 2018-11-09
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Freeny, Charles
Willie Ewing
B: 1917-09-23
D: 2018-11-07
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Ewing, Willie
Patricia Valentine
B: 1947-10-27
D: 2018-10-31
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Valentine, Patricia


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1455 N. Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103
Phone: 626-798-8941
Fax: 626-798-0195

Burial Vs. Cremation

When a loved one passes, a funeral is usually planned to acknowledge and celebrate the life the person lived. But another important decision needs to be made. In technical terms, what will be the disposition of the body?  Every society has to have a means to handle deceased human remains.  The choices we have are burial vs. cremation and the next of kin or of the person legally in charge of the funeral arrangements must decide.

Burial generally involves interment in a grave in a cemetery.  The grave must be opened (dug) and closed (backfilled), the grass and grounds around the grave are mowed and manicured (endowment care) and in California, an outer burial container such as a vault or a grave liner, is a requirement of the cemetery.  These are concrete containers that cover or encase the casket, add bulk to and maintain the integrity of the grave.  (Some cemeteries in states outside of California do not require an outer burial container).  There are cemetery charges for the grave itself, opening and closing, the outer burial container, the grave marker or headstone and placement of such, and an escort fee (at some cemeteries).  The escort fee is for a person to lead the procession to the gravesite, standby and oversee the committal or graveside service.  A flower vase at the gravesite, is usually also available, for a fee.

Entombment in a mausoleum or crypt, a concrete chamber, is another option available at most cemeteries.  This is also considered a burial.   There are costs for the space, opening and closing, the crypt plate (where the name of the deceased is placed), and endowment care.

Cremation is the process of incinerating human remains in a cremation chamber or retort.  It is a process that takes place at a licensed crematory and that takes approximately 2-3 hours.  Then there is a cooling period before the cremated remains are placed in an urn.  The family usually has the opportunity to witness the cremation, if they so choose.  And this is basically witnessing the placement of their loved one in the retort and remaining nearby during the process. 

Once a person is cremated a decision needs to be made re: what to do with the cremated remains?  Again, they are first placed in a container called an urn, chosen by the family.  Urns are available in a variety materials such as: marble, steel, wood, plastic, cardboard and stone. Necklace   pendants are also available in many shapes: hearts, crosses, sea shells, etc…  for small or partial amounts of the cremated remains. 

Once the cremated remains are placed in an urn there are many options available.  A family can take them home at no cost, have them placed in a niche or buried in a grave in a cemetery, buried at sea, or buried on private property with the written consent of the landowner.  Burial at sea, also known as scattering at sea, can be done privately by a company or by the family as long as the guidelines set by the state are followed.  California requires that burial at sea of cremated remains be done at least three miles off the coast.  If family wishes to be present for the burial at sea, companies that specialize in this service will take family and friends out to sea via boat, and perform a ceremony and the burial.  Now there is also an opportunity to scatter cremated remains at scattering lawns at some cemetery sites.

The cost of cremation is generally much less than that of burial, and the decision to cremate is sometimes driven by economic factors.   Family tradition, cultural practices, and religious beliefs also play a major role in the interment decision.  “What to choose?” is a personal decision.  Your funeral director is available to discuss these options in detail with you, as well as the cost associated with each.  Burial and cremation arrangements can be made in advance through a pre-need plan, just as a funeral can.  Contact your local funeral director for more information.  

Gail Valentine Taylor,

L.C.S.W. Funeral Director Woods-Valentine Mortuary

(626) 798-8941




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