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Cremation growing in popularity

Planning ahead strongly encouraged

Washington state now ranks second in the nation for cremation. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Cremation is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for families in Washington state.

About half a century ago, nearly all who died in the United States were buried and only about four percent were cremated.

Since then, economic, societal and religious perspectives have changed from burial to cremation services.

According to the latest data from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the cremation rate in 2015 stood at 48.6 percent and is projected to reach 54.3 percent by 2020.

In Washington state, cremation services are selected 74.6 percent of the time, second only to Nevada.

"Cremation has grown dramatically in popularity," commented Rich Snider, the sales manager at Mountain View Funeral Home.

Since it first opened its doors in 1915, Mountain View Funeral Home and Memorial Park has established a long tradition of caring for families in their time of need.

"Tacoma families have given Mountain View their trust for more than one hundred years," continued Snider. "It's an honor we treat with the greatest respect."

When it comes to cremation services, Snider said that Mountain View performs approximately 650 cremations each year including many veterans.  He estimates that about 50 percent of veterans now opt for cremation.

"While cremation is becoming more popular, it's an extremely personal choice and many families still prefer traditional burial," added Snider. "We are fully equipped to take care of these families as well."

A recent report by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) stated that the cremation rate in America is increasing to save money, save land, simplicity, personal preference and an aversion to burial.

"Veterans and their families understand these concepts well," added Snider.

"We perform cremations with the utmost respect and dignity here at Mountain View," added Snider, "and we expect to see a growing number of families selecting cremation as their preferred option."

As the data from the CANA points out, cremated remains are easily transported, and can be kept at home until the family is ready to provide a permanent resting place for them. Alternately, they can be scattered at a meaningful site or incorporated into keepsakes such as jewelry.

"We have families come to us with cremated remains they've had on their mantel or in a closet for years," said Snider.  "We help these families find permanent placement for their loved one's remains for future generations to honor."

He added, "Giving cremated remains a permanent place that families and friends can visit gives people a sense of closure they don't always experience when the remains are in their home."

Snider also pointed out that while Mountain View no longer conducts scatterings, it does help to make arrangements for those families who wish to scatter the cremated remains of a loved one.

If families can't decide what they want to do with the cremated remains, Mountain View offers portioning urns so some can be scattered and some can be placed in a permanent memorial.

"Most families still find comfort in having a permanent place to honor their loved one," continued Snider.  "Many choose glass-front niches for cremated remains so family members can personalize them with photographs and mementos."

He strongly encourages individuals to document their wishes in advance.

"Planning ahead will give you peace of mind now and your family guidance when they need it most," Snider suggested.

Mountain View Funeral Home and Memorial Park is located at 4100 Steilacoom Blvd. SW in Lakewood. The memorial park includes five designated gardens of honor for veterans and the First Responders Memorial.

For more information about cremation services, visit or call 253.948.9895.  

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