The O'Connell Family Funeral Home is the ONLY on-site cremation provider in St. Croix County as well as the outlying communities. Many families soon discover that there can be many similarities between a cremation service and a traditional funeral service (with body present), but they will also find that with cremation there can be a whole host of new opportunities to reflect, gather, and memorialize a loved one.
When plans were being considered for the new Baldwin chapel, the O’Connell family realized the importance of having a local cremation facility. Families appreciate the fact that when we take their loved one into our care, they remain with us for the duration of their services. The alternative is transporting to cremation facilities in Eau Claire or the metro area. With a crematory in our building, we can further extend service options to families who are interested in viewing the cremation whether standard cremation services or traditional followed by cremation services are selected.
We are proud of the ability to offer exclusive cremation to the families we serve and maintain that all of the cremations we do are “in house”. This means that only families being served by our funeral home have access to our cremation facilities.
Here are some basic cremation questions. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have.
How is cremation actually performed?
The deceased's body is typically enclosed in a rigid cremation container or special casket (optional). Cremation services will require such a container or casket, which is typically constructed of wood or cardboard, be used throughout the transportation and handling of the deceased's body. Using Countryside Crematory, only one body at a time may be cremated in the cremation chamber. Once the body enters the chamber, a combination of heat, flame, and evaporation will reduce it over a period of two to three hours (at temperatures between 1,500 to 2,000 degrees F) to its most basic elements, which resemble coarse, whitish or light gray sand. While what the cremation process typically refers to as ash scatterings, the actual human remains bear little resemblance and no chemical similarities with ashes. They are, instead, bone fragments or, cremated remains. The remains of an average adult usually weigh between three and nine pounds after cremation.
Upon completion of the cremation, all remaining bone fragments and any other non-consumed materials are drawn from the back of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. Through a combination of visual inspection and magnets any remaining metal work (artificial joints, bridge work, and metal from clothing) is then separated from the cremated remains. Dental elements such as gold and silver are non-recoverable and commingled with the cremated remains. The remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and then placed in a temporary or permanent urn of the family's choosing.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. In fact, it is illegal for a funeral home to require otherwise. However, issues of time, health, legal regulations, religious or spiritual considerations or other personal preference may make embalming prior to cremation appropriate or necessary.
What other preparation is required?
Preparation, including the possible inclusion of embalming, is often a matter of time and preference, but there are some simple scientific matters that need to be addressed prior to a cremation. One such matter that your cremation professional is likely to address is whether the deceased had a pacemaker or similar electro-mechanical device or implant. Such devices should be removed prior to a cremation because they may become dangerous when subjected to the extreme heat of the cremation process.
Can the body be viewed without embalming? Can the cremation be witnessed?
Yes, the O'Connell Family Funeral Home allows immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation and in many cases, we will also allow family members to be present during the placement of the body into the cremation chamber.
What choices are available for permanent memorialization?
There are many options for the permanent resting place of a loved one's cremated remains. Some families choose traditional cemetery lots. Others prefer cremation gardens, permanent inurnment in a columbarium niche (recessed enclosure bearing an ornamental front with the name and dates), or that the remains be kept at home. An ash scattering has become a more widely accepted form of memorial for many families, but special care must be given to legal, environmental, social, religious, and emotional considerations. Most areas will allow an ash scattering, but even with this kind of ceremony, it has been found that most families usually still desire some kind of additional, permanent memorial. Sometimes, it makes sense not to have a scattering, because it may place another family member in the delicate position of being the one who actually disperses the mortal remains of the loved one. This is no small request, as many families have found. Also, unless a family is absolutely sure that an ash scattering is the most appropriate and permanent way of memorializing a loved one, other forms of memorial may prove to be more suitable.
What is the cost of cremation versus a traditional funeral? How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?
A cremation service can be less than a traditional funeral, but it's difficult to make a direct, "apples-to-apples" comparison given the range of services now available through cremation. From casket choices, to gathering ceremonies, to specific kinds of memorials, it's very possible that some cremation services may cost more than a traditional funeral, or just the opposite. This is why we encourage you to have a candid conversation about costs and benefits with the O'Connell staff.