NEW ULM - More than 700 people flocked to Minnesota Valley Funeral Home on Sunday to attend the open house for its new cremation facility.
Continuous tours were provided throughout the event. The tours stopped at several locations, including the embalming and storage rooms, and concluded at the new cremation room. Funeral directors were available at all the stops to answer any questions.
Minnesota Valley General Manager Bruce Savoy said the company decided to add the cremation service after a large number of people asked about it.
Staff Photo by Josh Moniz
Minnesota Valley Funeral Home Funeral Director Peter Macho explained to a tour group the process that goes into cremating a body. The new crematory machine behind him is the newest addition to the funeral home’s services, and it was on display Sunday during an open house.
"The people we will bring in with this service are the people that want a cremation with people they already know," said Savoy.
The business previously contracted cremation services to Southern Minnesota Cremation Services in Echo. Savoy said he has offered to loan his cremation services to his in-town competitor Schmucker Funeral Services, but he hasn't heard a response yet.
"Jeff and I have a good relationship, so we can be cordial," said Savoy.
The official cremation services itself is technically under the separate business title Minnesota Valley Cremation Services. The reason being that state regulations prevent cremation and funeral services from operating under the same business and license. The cremation and funeral services are still under the same corporate entity.
Savoy said the crematory is state-of-the-art with a computer that will monitor emissions at all times. The crematory is designed to release no smoke or ash dust, only heat, and it is designed to meet noise ordinances.
The process takes an average of three hours to complete a cremation, with an hour each for heating up, burn and cooling down. Minnesota Valley Funeral Director Peter Macho said the time can vary based on body type and sex, because men and women have different bone densities.
Savoy said he wasn't surprised by the size of Sunday's turnout.
"All people are fascinated by death and funeral services. They either want to learn more about it, or they shun it. The people that want to learn more are the ones that come here," said Savoy.
The cremation facility was inspected at the end of September and received its letter of approval on Oct. 13. Savoy said a date for offering the new service has not yet been set because staff need to complete additional training. He said cremations could start within the next week and a half.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)