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Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Crematory installed at local funeral home

Friday, March 6, 2009

An employee for Mark A. Howald Construction and Design, Brazil, prepares to add the finishing touches to the roof of the chapel's recent crematory area, located in the back of Lawson-Miller Chapel. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
Clay County families wishing to take advantage of cremation will not have to travel anymore.

Beginning next week, French Funeral Home will offer cremation for its customers at the Lawson-Miller Chapel location, 1702 E. National Ave, Brazil.

"The thought has been on our minds for several years," French Funeral Home Funeral Director Nick French said. "Here in the last 10 years, the cremation rate has begun to increase in Clay County. That was the initial impetus for installing the crematory.

"Cremation has been a growing trend for the last several years. Until the last few years, we didn't think it was necessary."

Before, if a family wanted a loved one cremated, the process took place in Terre Haute. But after seeing a growing demand for cremation, French said he believed it was necessary to install the service.

"We want to provide the families we serve the best possible care," he said. "Now we can provide the families we serve with personal care without leaving the facility. That was important to us."

French said the 29,000-pound unit was purchased through Matthews Cremation, based in Orlando, Fla. He added it was installed approximately one month ago.

The unit is one piece and took nearly two hours to put in place. It currently resides in what was the Lawson-Miller Chapel garage.

However, French Funeral Home established a wall separating the long garage in order for the crematory to be completely separate from any other area at the facility.

Currently, Mark A. Howald Construction and Design, Brazil, is putting the finishing touches on the area.

To the best of his knowledge, French said he believes the crematory is the first for Clay County.

According to French, the system uses natural gas and has a normal operating temperature level of 1,400-1,800-degrees. It will be specifically used for humans only.

French said the cremation process takes approximately two-three hours once the button is pushed.

French said he and French Funeral Home representative Tom Hofmann will run the system.

He added after hearing families' desire to not have to travel when cremation was requested as a reason for purchasing the unit and adding the system.

"This was a primary objective, to put this in," French said. "Some families wanted to see it. Some families actually want to push the button and start the process.

"(Families can) still have a 'traditional' service."

French said he hasn't ruled out having other funeral homes using the facility.

"If other funeral homes would like to use us, I have no problem with that," he said.

In addition, he said open houses are in the planning stages for April for the community to view the system.

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I find the comment above "That's all we need are burning bodies in Brazil!" incredibly ignorant and insensitive. Cremation is a common practice all over the United States and the world, and it helps families deal with the loss of a loved one in a way they see fit.

Nick French and his associates have helped families like mine at a time of need for many years, and they have done so with utmost professionalism and personal care. I am glad they have provided area residents with this service.

-- Posted by ebrann on Sat, Mar 7, 2009, at 9:24 AM

ebrann ~

Couldn't agree with your comments more ~ obviously, jjpdlp doesn't have a clue about cremation or the increasing need for a facility such as this in Clay County ~

Funerals are always difficult, but the French Family has always gone above & beyond for our community ~

-- Posted by karebabe on Sat, Mar 7, 2009, at 10:34 AM

If you actually think about it, this gives families a more local choice. Like everything else, even death costs more it seems. Burial plots, caskets, head stones. A person's death shouldn't put their family into debt. If the individual decides that this is a good option for their remains, it certainly is reasonable that their family might be more comfortable about it being done locally instead of farmed out to another facility.

Though many still live in one town all their lives, more and more people are more mobile and don't know where they will end up at the end of their days. Perhaps this is a better option than the untended graveyards we have when loved ones are no longer in the area. Spread their ashes in a favorite location or keep them until the spouse has died so that they can be buried together close to wherever the children finally settle as the location of the remains is more important to the living than to the dead.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Mar 8, 2009, at 3:05 PM

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