Taking Care of Pop
March 25, 2010 6:23 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to take care of my father's cremation wishes?

My father, the most frugal person ever, just passed. I live somewhere else, and I came to be with him here in Berkeley, CA. The hospital needs to know what to do with the body.

My father wanted nothing, there doesn't seem to be a community here that requires a service, I'm the only family member, and I'm ok with nothing too. I know very clearly that the least amount done would be waht he wanted most. And ideally the least environmental impact too.

Any ideas on what the most inexpensive and efficient way to take care of this?

Do I just call a mortuary place and hope for the best?
posted by miles1972 to Human Relations (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are various organizations that will cover the cost of cremation services when a body is donated for scientific research purposes. When my daughter died, we did something similar, and it gave us some peace to know that in her life and death we helped others.
posted by bunnycup at 6:29 PM on March 25, 2010

I think that you want to ask for "direct cremation." And I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by tizzie at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2010

Do I just call a mortuary place and hope for the best?

The key phrase is "Direct Cremation." There are businesses that cater to this specific task. Be direct in saying that what you require is minimum services, and they should be direct with you. There are no set standards for what cremations cost, so you should probably call a few places.

Feel free to email me directly if there's any other questions you might have and I'll be happy to try and help.
posted by ColdChef at 6:39 PM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

What tizzie said.
posted by ColdChef at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2010

you might want to ask someone at the hospital about a recommendation for a funeral home to provide services. And, DO use ColdChef as a source of information.

My condolences...
posted by HuronBob at 6:49 PM on March 25, 2010


My wife's grandmother recently passed away.....the cost here in Michigan for a simple cremation was about $2,000 for all services (picking up at the hospice, cremation, return of remains in a simple plastic container)...just as a point of reference as to cost.

This was done at a funeral home of owned by someone I knew, I think the price was in the normal range.
posted by HuronBob at 6:51 PM on March 25, 2010

My father died unexpectedly with no will or any suggestion as to what his wishes would have been. I went for a direct cremation. No service, no urn, nothing. That was the easy part (especially since I lived 400 miles away from where he was). The hard part was trying to figure out what to do with the ashes once I had them.

It's been eight years and they're still sitting on my bookshelf in a plastic box.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:54 PM on March 25, 2010

Oh, and the cost in San Bernardino in 2002 for the whole enchilada was $700, which they then raised to $1200 because my dad weighed 450lbs when he died and was too large for their cremator. They had to transfer him to another facility.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:57 PM on March 25, 2010

If it interests you, here is some information about donating his body to the UCSF medical school, which does not require advance registration but follows some other criteria. My condolences to you.
posted by carmicha at 7:03 PM on March 25, 2010

we did the body donation thing with my mom (see this thread) and it was totally great. although they told us the medical school might keep the body for up to two years, we had her ashes back within like six months.

I am sorry for your loss and wish you the best. perhaps you can think of a place you and your dad visited together or talked about (if you were at all close) and take his ashes there, if you're so inclined? it doesn't have to be an expensive trip (in keeping with your dad's character), just someplace you've enjoyed, or that helps you remember him well.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:17 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

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