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Final Disposition of Cremated Remains

Learn About Options for the Final Disposition of Cremated Remains in Pittsburgh, PA

For people who realize that their life is coming to an end it is important to sign your will and/or trust and other important papers such as a power of attorney. It is also important to give some thought to the disposition of your remains. It is important to express to your loved ones and survivors your wishes for the final disposition of your cremated remains (cremains). This avoids putting your relatives in an uncomfortable position and also increases the likelihood that your wishes with respect to your funeral or memorial service will be carried out. Please call Rome Monument at 724-770-0100 if you have any questions or concerns regarding the planning of your own funeral.

Before you even begin the cremation process for a loved one, it is important to come to a decision on what to do with the cremated remains. Learning about your options for the final disposition of cremated remains starts with a call to Rome Monument at 724-770-0100. Ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan, our Certified Cremation Specialists, and schedule a free consultation at one of our seven convenient locations in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania. Click here for burial and cremation laws in Pennsylvania.

Here are the most common options for the final disposition of cremated remains:

  • scattering the cremated remains
  • placing the cremated remains in an urn for display at home
  • placing the cremated remains in a keepsake such as a pendant or other piece of jewelry
  • inserting the cremated remains (usually in an urn) inside of a cremation marker or monument that is set on your property or in a cemetery
  • burying the cremated remains in a cemetery
  • above-ground entombment--placing an urn in a columbarium or mausoleum niche.

Keep in mind that families sometimes regret not having a permanent memorial to visit after ashes are scattered or placed in a portable memorial such as an urn or keepsake. We recommend that the family talk to one of our Certified Cremation Specialists prior to a family member’s passing in order to prevent ill-advised and rushed decisions later on. We can help make a difficult, time-consuming process easier!  

At Rome Monument, we specialize in creating cremation memorials, yet we are certified by the ICCFA (International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association) to administer, organize, and arrange cremations. That makes us uniquely qualified to explain the many options for the final disposition of cremated remains, the difference between traditional burials and cremation, how the cremation process works, the costs and prices associated with cremation, and the many cremation memorial options available for creating a lasting tribute to your loved one.

Either Vince or Chris can answer all your cremation questions, including storage options such as: urns, jewelry, community columbariums (niches), cemetery cremation memorials, cremation memorial benches and cremation monuments. They will be happy to recommend crematories in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Western Pennsylvania that can perform the cremation and/or funeral homes that can provide a funeral or memorial service. It’s never too early to get started. Simply call Rome Monument at 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan, our Certified Cremation Specialists. The consultation is free and we will be happy to answer all your questions.

We recommend that the family talk to one of the Rome Monument Cremation Arrangers prior to a family member’s passing in order to prevent ill-advised and rushed decisions later on. It can make a difficult, time-consuming process easier! 

Cremation Memorials

There are many cremation memorial options available to you, whether you decide on in-ground burial, inserting the ashes/urn inside a monument, or placing the cremated remains in an urn or keepsake that is kept in a home or columbarium niche. A cremation memorial can be for any number of people, come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors and in different price ranges. Here are some your choices for the disposition of the cremated remains: 

  • Cremation Urns
  • Cremation Pedestals
  • Cremation Benches
  • Flat Cremation Markers
  • Upright Cremation Monuments
  • Cremation Cemetery Buildings ( Mausoleums, Columbariums with Niches)
  • Backyard Cremation Monuments
  • Cremation Plaques
  • Granite Vaults
  • Private Family Columbariums with Niches

Cremation memorials can be for any number of urns and come in a variety of styles and shapes. Cemeteries in Pittsburgh often permit the use of different monument types including cremation memorials. You can select from a wide variety of granite colors for both traditional and cremation memorials in different price ranges.

In Cremation 101 we give you a brief look at cremation, but the best way to learn about cremation in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania is to talk with one our Certified Cremation Arrangers. Simply call us at 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Chris Morgan. The consultation is free and they will be happy to answer all your questions. 

Cremation Defined

Cremation is the mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments.

Reasons for Choosing Cremation

If you need time to explore the cremation option, we can help. In the end, however, the decision is a very personal one. Here are some reasons why many of our customers have chosen cremation over traditional burial.

  • Cremation costs less than a traditional burial.
  • Cremation uses less land than a traditional burial.
  • The cremation process is easier and less time-intensive than traditional burial.
  • Society has become more accepting of cremation.
  • Cremation is better for the environment than traditional burial.
  • Cremation is a respectful way to care for one who has passed.   

Pre-Planning Cremation

It is important to understand the cremation process in advance of your passing or a member of your family’s. Only then can you make important decisions with respect to cremation arrangements and cremation costs in a relaxed, calm manner and with plenty of time to work out the details. This is called pre-planning. A Cremation Counselor here at Rome Monuments can help you plan the process in advance to achieve the best results.

Selecting a Funeral Home

The funeral home you select will pick up the body, have you fill out the required paperwork, take the body to the crematory (crematorium), and then return the cremated remains to you.  We can provide a list of funeral homes in the Pittsburgh area and make recommendations based on your needs. You can talk to a Cremation Counselor here at Rome Monuments or schedule a free consultation by calling 724-770-0100.

Cremation Process

Here is how the cremation process works:

  • At the time of death, the body is transported to the cremation facility where it is placed in a temperature-controlled environment for a Pennsylvania state-mandated 24 hours.  
  • The body is placed in a cremation chamber. The process takes 2-3 hours.
  • The cremated remains are removed and further processed to a consistent size and shape.
  • The fully processed cremated remains are placed into a cremation urn or temporary container.
  • The urn or container is delivered to a location requested by the family—to a family member or members, a cemetery, or a memorial facility where the remains are placed inside of monument or cremation keepsake.  

Cremation Funeral Services

A person who has been cremated can be memorialized in much the same way as one who has been embalmed for burial.   

Direct Cremation: You may choose a Direct Cremation with no service whatsoever.

Standard Funeral Service: You may select a Standard Funeral Service at the funeral home. If you wish to view the body, you can have the body embalmed and then cremated following the service.  

Life Celebration: You may want to have a Life Celebration at your home, a park in the Pittsburgh area, a Country Club in or around Pittsburgh, hotel or wherever you feel appropriate. The cremated remains can be present at this type of service.

Scattering Ashes

Cremated remains have been rendered harmless, so there is no public health risk involved in scattering ashes. However, be prudent when choosing when and where to scatter ashes. Here are some options for scattering ashes: 

  • In a cemetery “scattering” garden: Many cemeteries have gardens set aside for scattering ashes.
  • On your own private property
  • On public land such as a park: You may want to check city and county regulations and zoning rules before scattering here. . 
  • On federal land:  Officially, you should request permission to scatter ashes on federal land. However, it will likely not be a problem if you scatter ashes well away from trails, roads, facilities, and waterways.
  • In a lake or river:  The federal Clean Water Act governs scattering in inland waters such as rivers or lakes. You may be legally required to obtain a permit from the state agency that manages the waterway.
  • At sea: The Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. If the container will not easily decompose, you must dispose of it separately. Scattering ashes on beaches or in wading pools by the sea is also prohibited. You must notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea. For more information, including contact information for the EPA representative for Pennsylvania, see Burial of Human Remains at Sea on the EPA website.
  • By air: This method is allowed as long as you don’t drop the container as well.

Cemetery Options for the Final Disposition of Cremated Remains:

  • Many families in Allegheny County, PA choose cremation because of the flexibility this option offers.
  • People from Western Pennsylvania often decide to have an urn buried at a cemetery that has facilities for cremated remains months or even years after the memorial service for the deceased was conducted.
  • These facilities may be burial spaces alongside trails, special gardens or indoor or outdoor columbariums.
  • In 2013, Allegheny Cemetery opened a hillside trail with beautiful views to provide Pittsburgh families with another option for cremated burials.  
  • In Squirrel Hill, the Homewood Cemetery maintains a beautiful lawn garden cremation garden, an indoor mausoleum and garden mausoleums for the final disposition of cremated remains.
  • The Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers a Memorial Walk, private columbarium grave space, an above-ground columbarium for cremated remains, standard grave spaces that may hold up to two cremations and cemetery sites designated for cremation burials.
  • Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Pittsburgh offers indoor and outdoor columbarium niches for cremated human remains which are often referred to as cremains.
  • For more information about cemeteries that provide options for the final disposition of cremated remains, call 724-770-0100 and ask to speak with Vince Dioguardi or Cris Morgan.