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Funeral homes offer alternative to cremation ashes


Funeral homes in Schoolcraft and Vicksburg are offering an alternative to cremation ashes: Instead of ashes, families can receive rock-like remains which can be “touched, held and shared.”

The choice is being offered by Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes and Cremation Society, which owner Steve McCowen said has partnered with Parting Stone, a Santa Fe-based startup company which “pioneered a technology that offers a clean alternative to cremated remains following cremation.”

The service is available at four locations: Portage and Plainwell as well as Vicksburg and Schoolcraft.

“For over past 30 years I have helped families decide what to do with ashes,” McCowen said. “Many families will ask our firm to split the ashes so they can spread some and bury the other portion. Or they will have us split the ashes so multiple family members can have some ashes…. Then some of those family members aren’t sure what to do with them after that.

“We partnered with Parting Stones to help give some families another option. Solidifying ashes into stones seems to be a much cleaner process and, in some ways, therapeutic.”

McCowen said the process returns the full amount of cremation remains in a solid and clean form resembling a collection of polished stones. The average person results in about 40-60 solids ranging in size from thumb-nail up to palm-size. The color of each person’s solidified remains is 100% natural and while many result in white stones, but some are a hue of blue, green, or another variation. According to McCowen, the process will work with ashes that families may have stored for years. The service is also available for pets.

“I am just so pleased to have this service for the families I serve,” says McCowen. “This gives families a nice option.”

For more information or to see the display, contact Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes and Cremation Society.

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