Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Cost of Dying

Death is a growth industry. I was invited last year to a golf tournament for pastors sponsored by one of North America’s largest funeral service provider. I was invited to give a prayer before the sumptuous dinner at Coyote Creek banquet facilities. Every duffer regardless of handicap received a great prize. Let’s face it, pastors as I have been officiate hundreds of funerals over a career and we often are asked for recommendations to a funeral home. Funeral services are provided at a price which many people consider excessively high.

My thanks to a Nov 8, 2007 Vancouver Sun article for some of the data used here. I loved a line in that piece which expressed that with the self absorbed baby boomers due to turn 70 in 2016, expect to hear that death is the new 90. I arrive at 70 a fraction earlier in 2012 but I will be among the peloton skidding to the grave with our brakes fully engaged. Through the years much has been written about our costly way of dying. This has inspired the founding of membership driven memorial societies which for a nominal fee permits pre-arrangement of low cost funerals with select contracted companies. My mom and dad had memberships in such a society in Ontario. The Memorial Society of B.C., around since the 1950’s has 207,000 members at a cost of $20 lifetime membership, plus a $35 records fee when life ends. Many independent funeral homes have contracted to work with the Society that has incorporated an ethics code to which the contracting funeral service providers agree so grieving families are not pressured but helped. Costs of services and products like caskets and urns are priced respectfully rather than competitively. All Memorial Society of British Columbia designated funeral providers are owned and operated by Canadian families. None are franchises or owned by publicly traded companies. MSBC covers 95% of BC's population!

Personal Alternative Funeral Services is another option to a number of communities. Founded in 1992 and owned by Lawrence G. Little, a man with a distinguished 35-year career in the British Columbia funeral industry. I have worked with the Aldergrove Home and have always found families were satisfied with the services. The website allows you to connect with a provider in the following communities: Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, BC ; Kamloops and the Thompson Nicola District, BC ; Okanagan, BC; Trail and the West Kootenays, BC ; Calgary, Airdrie and Southern Alberta ; Red Deer, and Central Alberta ; Seattle and Western Washington, USA.

The Society’s website or toll free number may be helpful
and toll-free number is 1-888-816-5902

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