Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I choose a Memorial?

Step 1: Gather your ideas

      - what aspects of your loved one's will you want to preserve and cherish?

Consider the following aspects that make up the chapters of a life:

  • Family Heritage
  • Life's Work and Accomplishments
  • Interests and Hobbies
  • Social and Civic Contributions
  • Memorable Events and Occasions
  • Faith and Belief
  • Character and Traits

From these, jot down your ideas - inscription, endearments, religious symbols, civic or military emblems.

Step 2: Meet with our staff

Our skilled memorial staff can help you understand different design and carving options, lettering and photographs. You can choose from our library of standard design work or we can create custom artwork for your individual use. Working together we will create a rough outline indicating where the design and text elements should be placed.

Step 3: Rendering for approval

Our staff will create a rendering for your review and approval. Any last minute adjustments can be made. Once the rendering is approved, work will begin on the memorial.

Step 4: Finished

The completed memorial will truly tell your loved one's story in stone.

2. What is Cremation Memorialization?

Since 1985, there has been a steady growth rate in cremation. Many factors influence this growth, from a poor economy to going green. According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), 33.5% of deaths were cremated in 2009. 34.5% in 2010 and the rate is climbing 1.5% to 2% each year. But there is a problem; what do families do with the cremated body? For those wishing to be "spread", there are designated areas in cemeteries to spread ashes. However, the idea of numerous cremated bodies in one area does not appeal to most. There are those who place the cremated remains in decorative urns of all types and keep them in the home to be close to the one who passed away. Let's explore that scenario.

Mom passed away and the two of you were very close. Her wish was to be cremated, and you couldn't find yourself parting with her ashes. You are keeping her close to you by placing her remains in an urn situated on the mantel. You are comforted by the knowledge that she is close by, and you are pleasantly reminded of her every time you dust the urn. However, how are other members of the family reminded of her and how are they able reflect on her memory? Do they come to your house? What happens to mom when it is your time to pass on? Who will care for her remains then?

These questions have been raised in this time of increasing cremation rates. Where does one go to visit, place flowers, and reminisce the life once lived? For centuries families buried the remains of a loved one and placed a marker at the head of the grave. It was accessible to all that knew and loved that person. In recent years, families became mobile and it has become less common for members of the family to remain in their hometown. Going to the cemetery to visit mom's grave may occur less frequently than in days past, yet there is still the desire to do so, particularly on a special occasion such as a holiday or birthday.

It's been said, cemeteries are not only for the dead, but for the living as well. It is human nature to want to be close again to the ones you miss. Visiting the grave is the only physical means to achieve that closeness, but these days, only 65% of people who die are buried in cemeteries. Are we losing interest? Is family not as important in today's society? The answer is absolutely no. We are the same as our ancestors, and family is just as important to us as it was to them. Cremation just seems the easier thing to do; less fuss perhaps, or cheaper than a funeral. However, have we considered the emotions of the ones left behind?

Memorialization is just as important to the human psyche as it has been in past centuries. Creating that permanent resting place for a loved one enables visitation for present and future generations. It leaves a mark indicating a person lived on this earth and memorials endure the elements for hundreds of years. Memorialization is not just for the dearly departed; it remains for the living. When asked, "How does cremation affect genealogy research?" genealogy expert, Sara Skotzke, states: "I do use grave listings most every day, many times calling cemeteries to find a missing clue. Just today I found an unknown member of a client's family by calling the cemetery about another family member. I also find so many clues about connecting families by seeing who is buried in relating family lots. I wish there was a way to handle the records of cremated remains to keep the family history alive as I truly believe that a headstone keeps the family's story alive."

College student, Hannah Ackerman, lost her mother to breast cancer in May of 2010. Her mother was cremated in compliance with her wishes, and her ashes were spread. Hannah states, "I really regretted not having a grave site or something to go to. That's why I asked my dad to get a headstone for here or just buy a site at the cemetery. I would've liked to have a place to go where I felt like I could 'be' with her."

Thinking in future terms, one must consider the caretaking of the cremated body. Placing them in a cemetery setting with a permanent memorial insures not only the safety of the remains, but provides a place to remember the loved one missed by you and others in the family, now and forever.

3. What economical memorial options do you offer?

Even though Van Gemert Memorials has found its niche as the premier memorial company for unique design and outstanding personalization, we are deeply rooted in traditional memorials and working closely with families to find the "Right" memorial regardless of their budget. You will always be able to find prices on either end of those shown. The price is always dependent on size, color, granite quality, style, carving and other important factors. When planning a funeral on a budget you may also want to look at our wide selection of Cremation Urns.

4. Is it important to plan ahead?

One of the most important gifts you can give your loved ones is the gift of planning ahead. You can make the decisions regarding the design of a lasting memorial now and have it designed to fulfill your wishes and expectations. At Van Gemert Memorials, we will assist you in designing a memorial, choosing the color of granite to be used, and composing the inscriptions.

By planning ahead, you ensure that you will have the exact memorial that you envisioned. By taking these steps, you can alleviate stress and potential conflicts created when grieving family members are confronting the decision of what might have been your intentions.

Another advantage of planning ahead is that the price of the memorial will be protected from future increases. The cost today will be the final cost-it will not increase as the cost of living increases. You may wish to have the memorial installed now or in the future. In either case, the price will not increase.

You can give your family this gift of planning ahead by contacting Van Gemert Memorials. We will be happy to assist you with your plans.

5. Does Van Gemert Memorials do any community work?

Van Gemert Memorials prides itself in its Civic and Veterans' projects. We work closely with municipalities and organizations to design a meaningful and appropriate memorial. This includes specialized sculptures, detailed monuments, and engraved commemorative bricks. We can also create a sign for your business, organization, or subdivision.