Throughout history, many cultures have chosen cremation as a method of caring for the dead. In fact, cremation is still a time honored tradition in many European and Eastern countries. The number of Americans choosing cremation has increased significantly over the past decade. Cremation is simply the process of reducing a body to bone fragments through intense heat.
Robert A. Pumphrey, Sr. was on the forefront of cremation in American funeral service. He witnessed cremations overseas during World War II and brought his increased understanding of cremation back to the funeral home. In the late 1980’s Robert A. Pumphrey, Sr. constructed a crematorium at our Bethesda location as he foresaw the rise in popularity of cremation.
We are the only funeral home in Montgomery County that has their own crematorium on premises. This enables us to be able to control the process from start to finish. Our crematory staff is professionally trained by the manufacturer and handles each cremation with the utmost care. All of this gives our families peace of mind knowing their loved one never leaves our care.
Contrary to what some believe, cremation does not limit choices, but, in fact, increases one’s options. Cremation is a process which is performed in a respectful and dignified manner and can be memorialized in many ways.
Cremation and Funerals
Cremation is a form of disposition, just as burial is. Choosing cremation neither eliminates nor does it require a funeral service. Traditional or contemporary services may be planned before or after the cremation process. A funeral service followed by cremation may be exactly the same as a funeral service followed by ground burial.
Cremation Following a Funeral Service is just like a traditional funeral service except it is followed by cremation in lieu of a procession to the cemetery. Following the visitation, service or ceremony, and eventual cremation, the cremated remains can be buried, properly scattered, or returned to the family for safe keeping.
Cremation Preceding a Funeral Service is like a funeral, only it is a service of remembrance without the body present. Often the urn, pictures and other personal items will be on display to serve as a focal point for the memorial service. Even when cremation is selected before the service, there will be a time for immediate family to spend time with their loved one. This is a very important step in acknowledging that the death has occurred. This is also a time for the immediate family to say goodbye.
Cremation without Service is the prompt cremation following death, without a formal funeral or memorial service. Like with a cremation preceding a funeral service, the immediate family will have time to spend with their loved one prior to the cremation.
With every cremation there will be two selections that need to be made. The first is what the deceased will be placed in prior to the cremation; this is in lieu of a burial casket. We have a variety of cremation caskets to choose from, which look very similar to burial caskets but are constructed differently for cremation, and an alternative container that may be considered. Our crematorium requires the minimum of an alternative container. Whatever is selected is what the family will view their loved one in prior to the cremation.
The second selection is what the cremated remains will be placed in after the cremation. We carry a wide variety of urns that are constructed for permanent memorialization and a variety of urns for temporary memorialization prior to scattering. Urns are constructed of metal, stone, wood, ceramics and biodegradable materials. Many of the urns may be personalized. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container constructed of cardboard.