Witnessing Cremation

Issue 12.16

Fifty-four years ago, I had the opportunity to witness an open cremation on a Native American Indian reservation in southern Arizona.  Open cremation was the tribal custom, and, to say the least, it was an interesting experience.  At that time, I never would have imagined that I would later become an owner of a funeral home and cremation center.

We designed the Cremation Center of Southern Utah exclusively for families choosing cremation.  Many people are interested in understanding how our business operates, and some even wish to witness a cremation to ensure that the cremains they receive are indeed the remains of their loved one.  For some, witnessing a cremation is a form of closure, much the same as witnessing a burial.  Whatever the reason, we believe in allowing individuals the opportunity to witness the cremation of a family member.

Witnessing a cremation does not mean that you watch the actual process itself.  Instead, a witness views the body being placed into the cremation chamber.  After a period of approximately three hours, the remains are recovered from the chamber.  After a cooling period, the remains are processed and placed in an urn.

Our facility offers a special cremation witness room with a large window that looks into our cremation area.  This area houses our state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly crematory, otherwise known as a retort.  Those wishing to witness a cremation have the option of viewing the body enter the retort and then waiting in our witness room or in another comfortable area of our building during the three-hour process.

On a related topic, a few months ago a technician from our crematory manufacturer visited our facility to perform an inspection and to do some routine maintenance.  During our conversation, he stated he has been to hundreds of different crematories from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and to several countries around the world.  He stated that he had never seen a cleaner facility in all of his travels and that ours was a “model facility”.  I was thrilled to hear his words.  We take great pride in our profession and in the condition of our cremation facility.

We invite anyone interested in learning more about cremation to stop by our office.  We are located just off Riverside Dr. at 1316 S. 400 E., St. George, UT, or call (435) 986-9100,

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