- Associated Press - Monday, June 12, 2017

TROY, Mich. (AP) - From cracking open a bottle of wine to turning cremated remains into glass dishes, families are finding new options to celebrate the life of a recently deceased loved one at White Chapel Memorial Park in Troy.

Innovative in its approach, White Chapel has become the first cemetery in Michigan to open a Celebration of Life Center.

The center includes a full-service banquet facility and an extensive collection of choices to memorialize the deceased.

David Krall, vice president of White Chapel, said he has traveled across the country to identify the latest industry trends.

“We’ve tried to take some of the best ideas and put them together,” Krall told the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/2ryeyvY ). “We came up with our Celebration of Life Center to be able to help our families celebrate the lives of their loved ones in their own special way.

“Families can come in and have their thumb or fingerprints turned into wonderful remembrance jewelry. For our cremation families, we now offer the ability to create beautiful glass art with a small portion of the cremated remains of their loved one. We have a plethora of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pocket knives and other personalized keepsakes for men and women to place a small portion of their loved one’s cremated remains.”

Prices vary according to what services the family wants White Chapel to provide.

“Many families today are looking for something less formal or traditional, but still want to celebrate the life of their loved one,” Krall said.

“We wanted to help families during their time of loss to be able to focus on what is important and not have to worry about where the funeral luncheon would take place or what else they would have to direct family and friends to, particularly for out-of-town guests.”

The celebration center can accommodate up to 180 guests. It is the latest trend in the funeral industry as people look for alternatives to traditional funerals that involve embalming and caskets.

A small but growing number of people are seeking out more natural - and typically less-expensive - options, such as home funerals and green burials.

Three cemeteries and 19 funeral homes in Michigan are certified by the Green Burial Council, an organization that advocates natural funeral and burial practices.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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