Cremation becoming more common in Michiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Funeral directors say more and more people are choosing cremation over burial. One of the reasons is the cost, up to $6,000 less than burial.

"We probably did 5-percent cremations a year. Now we're at 35-40 percent so it's dramatically increased over the years," said Patrick Nowak, Funeral Director at Zahoran Funeral Home.

Nowak says 25 years ago, nearly all of his customers chose traditional burial for loved ones.

But not today. More and more people are switching to cremation.

The main reason for the shift-comes down to dollars and cents.

"Nowadays you're probably talking $7,000 to $8,000 for that type of funeral service, for a traditional funeral service. Whereas direct cremation you're in the $1,000 to $2,000 range," said Nowak.

That's a $5,000 to $7,000 difference.

Bill Zimmerman at Elkhart Cremation Services says more people are choosing cremation because of the cost - and because of the nature of a "mobile" America.

"A lot of it is driven by the mobility of society today. People are being born in a town, they don't stay in the town. They go to college and then don't come back to the town," said Zimmerman.

Certain religions are also becoming more accepting of cremation as an alternative to in ground burial.

Both funeral homes are planning to expand.

Zahoran just received approval to build a crematorium and Elkhart Cremation Services is planning an addition of their own.

"I feel that it's important we be able to expand to accommodate those families who choose cremation," said Zimmerman.

Pet cremation is also a growing business.


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