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easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |


April 24, 2011

easing THE

burden funeral & estate planning

life LOVE LOSS legacy


easing the burden | APRIL 24, 2011



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Calvary Cemetery: Cremations, niches reflect generational trend


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Your loved one had a unique personality. The selection you make for the graveside service and burial should communicate that singular spirit.

Easing the Burden, Funeral and Estate Planning is published by The Reporter, Fond du Lac. Contents of this section are published for The Reporter. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior consent of The Reporter. For more information, contact Michael Mentzer, managing editor, at 920-907-7910 or e-mail

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easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |


living will

Put your

in writing wishes

so survivors won’t be burdened

WILLIAM ARNOLD | The Arizona Republic

The movie “The Bucket List” at one time was a big hit.

• If you have a financial planner, provide your representative with the name and other contact information.

What do you want to do before you “kick the bucket?”

• A list of any items that you want a relative or friend to have. It might be good idea to gift it before you die.

There is one thing that should be on everyone’s bucket list. You should make sure that you communicate your end-of-life wishes to your family before you die.

• Provide your financial planner contact information for your representative.

You should organize your estate by identifying and recording all of your personal and business assets. Here is a checklist:

• Provide representative, physician and children copies of your end of life documents that can include living will, medical power of attorney, mental health power of attorney, durable power of attorney, do not resuscitate order and ethical will.

• Store all of your personal documents in a secure place and let your representative know where it is and how to access it. A safe-deposit box or fireproof safe are recommended. Wills, trusts, car titles, insurance policies, marriage certificate, birth certificates, deeds, military records, health records and powers of attorney.

• If you wish to be an organ donor, you should make your wishes known in writing.

• You should include a list of all your credit cards, bank accounts, including the passwords. You could put this on a computer stick.

• Make a detailed list of all your assets.

• Provide your representative with the location of less secure documents, including income tax records, checkbooks, loan agreements, bank statements, canceled checks, credit-card reports, list of assets, online payments and automatic payments, religious affiliation, employment benefit plans, Medicare records, Social Security numbers, real estate or other property

• Prepare plans for burial, funeral and memorial service.

• Meet periodically with your attorney, financial planner and representative to keep all records current. • Provide a list of bills and loans that need to be paid. • Photograph and store valued items.

• Make a list of who should be notified in the event of your death. • Write your obituary. The more that you can plan, the less burden you will leave behind for your survivors. Put it in writing. ●


Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader

Here are some things to remember when considering a living will from an attorney who helps clients understand the implications of filling out an advance directive for health care: • The initial living will and any changes require your signature and two witnesses, as well as a notary. An attorney is not necessary. It can be amended or revoked at any time and should be reviewed every three to five years or as circumstances change. • The document is only effective when it has been medically determined that you lack the ability to make decisions for yourself. • Your wishes regarding treatments you do or do not want, as stated in your living will, will only be considered if it is determined that death is imminent. • A document that is generally included with a living will is your choice of a “durable power of attorney for health care.” This person will serve as your proxy if you are unable to speak for yourself or make an informed decision. • Your health care proxy should be a person who knows your wishes ahead of time and is willing and able to be your advocate. There is no requirement that the proxy be related. • It is important, but not legally required, that you have conversations with your proxy and others about your living will; about who will be making your health care decisions if you can’t; what you consider quality of life; and the treatments you want and don’t want. • Copies of your living will should be given to your proxy, significant family and friends, your doctor and should be taken to the hospital with you. You should also carry a copy with you in case of emergency.

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Cremations, niches reflect generational trends

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The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher This grave of a U.S. Army veteran is aptly marked at Calvary Cemetery on Fond du Lac Avenue.

easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |

By Karla Kremer Breister Special To The Reporter

As more people plan for their final resting place, niches are growing in popularity. Niches provide memorialization of cremated remains. “We have niches that were built in 1980 during our original first phase,” said Darlene Hoffmann, general manager of Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum. “But, at that time, they were used by a very small percentage.” The economy and a new generation have sparked the trend’s growth. “Every year I do an inventory of what we’ve sold — inside, outside, cremation, entombment and full burials,” Hoffmann said. “Cremation is at 40 percent and climbing. Traditionally, our parents and grandparents wanted to be buried, but there has been a change in thinking, and the younger generation is more open to it.”


“The Cross of Calvary Cremation Garden was developed in the spring of 2009. The garden allows for cremains to be buried and includes a cross walkway centered by a 10-foot black monument and benches.”

People are also thinking in terms of space. The Reporter photos by Justin Connaher

“They don’t want to use up a lot of space for burials,” she said. Finances also play a part. “There is a savings over a full burial,” she said. “Entombment is about half the cost.” Serving since 1889 Calvary Cemetery, a non-profit Christian cemetery, has been serving the Fond du Lac area since 1889. All faiths are welcome.

TOP: This black marker designates the Cross of Calvary Cremation Garden developed in 2009 at Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum.

“Calvary Cemetery has been a fixture in the community since 1889.”

ABOVE: Darlene Hoffmann, general manager of Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, and Jim Sabel, president of the Calvary Cemetery Board, are shown near an urn niche at Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum building and offices along Fond du Lac Avenue. BELOW: The Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum edifice and chapel is a landmark along Fond du Lac Avenue.

Niches and burial crypts became an option in the fall of 1980 when The Chapel of the Risen Christ Mausoleum was dedicated with a large chapel and indoor and outside crypts and niches. Building phases two, three and four took place in 1986, 1994 and 1998 respectively, resulting in an indoor mausoleum, new office space, a board room and courtyard garden crypts. The staff and board of directors are proud of the two recent additions that have taken place on the property to accommodate cremated remains. The Cross of Calvary Cremation Garden was developed in the spring of 2009. The garden allows for cremains to be buried and includes a cross walkway centered by a 10-foot black monument and benches. “We’ve had a very good response to it,” said board President James Sabel. “People can’t believe they can be buried for such an inexpensive price. It is for those who want to be outside in a beautiful garden instead of in a small niche inside.” Garden sites popular Garden sites include a memorial marker, foundation and a decorative vase.

The garden is also home to an American flag flying on a 20-foot pole. “We have six 15-foot poles on order that will be added to the cremation garden,” Sabel said. “This will be our big project for spring. We will hang the flags of all the armed services plus the POW flag. We might be the only cemetery to have those flags flying side-by-side with the American flag. That was the one thing we were missing – something to honor all the veterans that have given their lives.”

ing need for cremations.” On the walls of the chapel, on both sides of the pews, niches were added, with some niche fronts see-through and the rest opaque to form the shape of a cross. “The niches were added to existing walls within the chapel,” Sabel said. “They blend into the chapel like they were meant to be. It is like buying a china cabinet to enhance the beauty of your dining room. That is what we did here.”

The cost of this project will be offset by donations.

Importance of presales

The second project, completed in October 2010, offers a “contemporary solution to accommodate the grow-

Hoffmann said it is important to offer many options to Calvary continued on Page 6 > > >


easing the burden | APRIL 24, 2011

“Traditionally, our parents and grandparents wanted to be buried, but there has been a change in thinking, and the younger generation is more open to it.” The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher A selection of cremation urns is on display at Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Calvary continued from Page 5 > > > her customers. “It is a matter of personal preferences and what the family is comfortable with,” she said. “We have to cover all the bases.” Much of her time is spent meeting with customers about future plans. In fact, approximately 85 percent of their business comes from presales. “Only 12 to 15 percent is when there is a family emergency or tragedy,” she said. People of all ages make arrangements for after their


Future generations

“The majority are probably 45 to 65,” she said. “Often after a family emergency, they become aware of the importance in planning head. The main reason for doing so is so that family members don’t have to worry about making these decisions on the worst day of their lives.”

Hoffmann does know that Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum will be serving many more generations to come.

She said preplanning is also a good financial decision. “It is wise because you lock in today’s prices,” she said. “Twenty years from now, who knows what things are going to cost?”

“We take great pride in the upkeep and maintenance of our cemetery and mausoleum” she said. “We are financially sound due to the wisdom of our board of directors, and the success of our sales programs and investments. We are not corporate owned and are a non-profit association of lot and crypt owners.” More information is available by calling 923-2202. ●

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easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |

Annual campaign

The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal

touts importance of

living wills

No matter where you stand on the debate, at least one good thing came out of the Terri Schiavo case: More people than ever before took the initiative to fill out advance directives. That case focused on Michael Schiavo’s legal fight to get his wife, Terri, who was in a persistent vegetative state, disconnected from her life-sustaining feeding tube. Terri Schiavo was in such a state because of sudden respiratory and cardiac arrest in 1990. She was disconnected from the feeding tube on March 31, 2005, and died shortly thereafter. The case rarely makes the news anymore. But as a way to urge more people to fill out advance directives, health-care workers recognize April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day. The annual effort aims to get patients to discuss and express their wishes in advance regarding health care and end-of-life issues.


such as dementia that impair their mental abilities, they may be able to perform certain functions such as eating, but be incapable of making health-care decisions. Before they get to that stage, they should discuss an advance directive with their doctors. The advance directive should be evaluated periodically as a person goes through major life events. The directive you make as a young adult may no longer match your desires as you age, have children, switch jobs, etc. Several people close to you should have copies of it. An advance directive helps guide doctors in making decisions about your health care. If a patient does not have an advance directive, doctors often perform painful measures they’re not sure patients would have wanted.

Not only is filling out an advance directive form free, proponents say it can save money and eliminate infighting among family members.

There has been a debate on whether the term “Do not resuscitate” should be changed to “Allow natural death” in order to help families with their decisions. A common misconception about advance directives is that people will be forced to fill out a form that instructs healthcare workers to remove life support or a feeding tube in the case of a coma, a social worker said. The directive is designed to honor whatever a person wants.

The need for advance directives has grown as people live longer, experts say. As the elderly suffer illnesses

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easing the burden | APRIL 24, 2011


growing in popularity

in Fond du Lac area and beyond Mobile society, need for flexibility, attitudes toward death bring about changes

By HarlEy Buchholz Special to The Reporter

Cremation is becoming more and more acceptable as an alternative to traditional funerals, according to area funeral directors.

The Reporter photos by Justin Connaher TOP: A display urn is shown in a special case used for funeral services at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home on North Park Avenue. MIDDLE: Several types of urns, including some that are biodegradable, are displayed at Mach Funeral Chapel on East Division and Portland streets. BELOW: These urns at Mach Funeral Chapel are examples of the variety that is available.

Jason Dill of UeckerWitt Funeral Home Inc.

Although public viewing and inground burial remain an option with cremation, the process allows families a greater degree of flexibility in their funeral planning. As a result, funeral homes report up to 50 percent of families now choose cremation.

numbers of cremations will continue to increase as rapidly as over the last couple of decades, Peter Zacherl of Zacherl Funeral Home said, “There’s no reason to believe the popularity won’t go up.” He hopes to have the city’s third crematory in service by July 1. “It has increased in popularity, no question,” said Bruce Mach. He installed the city’s second retort at Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory three years ago. “A lot of what drives people is just changing attitudes. There’s a different generation dealing with death.”

Uecker-Witt Funeral Home was the first in Fond du Lac to add a crematory. The first retort (crematory vessel) went into service in 1989 when less than 20 percent of the home’s services were for cremation, said Steve Uecker. A second retort was added later and “we’re now over 12,000 cremations,” Uecker said. “We did over 800 last year,” including services for other funeral homes that do not have their own facilities. Growing in popularity Uecker showed figures indicating that cremation now is the final disposition of choice in about 35 percent of funerals in Wisconsin, and are increasing at a rate of .75 to 1.25 percent per year. While Uecker does not feel the

Bruce Mach of Mach Funeral Chapel and Crematory

Zacherl pointed to today’s more mobile society as one of the reasons for the changing tradition. “We don’t have a tie to a cemetery,” he said. “We don’t live in the same place.”

Still, said Bob Twohig of Twohig Funeral Home in Fond du Lac and Campbellsport, “probably a majority choose inground burial with some type of urn. There is a percentage that do scatter.” Lots for cremains offered He said some cemeteries are beginning to offer “cremains lots” — smaller burial plots designed to hold the

easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |

Zacherl’s to add crematory Special to The Reporter

Zacherl Funeral Home hopes to have a crematory up and running by July 1, joining Uecker-Witt and Mach Funeral Chapel and Crematorium in offering on-site cremation services. Approval by the City Council of a special use permit is required before the installation can proceed. It can cost several hundred dollars to use an outside crematory, Peter Zacherl explained, so as acceptance of cremation has increased it became a business decision for him. He said the amount of time necessary for the new retort to begin a return on his investment became reasonable as more families requested cremation.


The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher Jason Dill, who is a funeral director at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home and manager of Parkview Cremations in Fond du Lac, is shown near the crematory facility.

cremains of two people. Plus, he added, some of the urns are biodegradable. A cremation rate of 50 percent reinforced Zacherl’s decision to add a crematory. “Fifteen years ago it was around 5 percent,” he said. Mach agreed, noting that in his 30 years in the mortuary business he’s seen the cremation rate rise from 7 percent to as high as 50 percent with a current annual rate of 25 to 50 percent. With cremation, he said, “as a guess, 40 percent of families still choose in-ground burial and another 20 to 30 percent utilize mausoleums. The rest of the people take the ashes and scatter them on their own or take them home.” Options for disposition of the ashes are as personal as the rest of the service. Jamie Ebert of Kohls Community Funeral Home in Waupun said she finds “more and more Cremation continued on Page 10 > > >

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Historic | APRIL 24, 2011

All Faiths

Cemetery and Mausoleum 922-4543

Since 1845

before scattering on private land.

families are holding onto the cremains.” All funeral homes have a selection of urns to hold the ashes.

They cite many different reasons for choosing cremation: personal choice, flexibility for far-flung families, distaste for in-ground burial and economics. But they also point out that cremations can be just as costly or more so than traditional funerals, depending on a family’s choices. Funeral homes, they explain, have a basic fee for services whether it includes cremation or not.

Jewelry from cremains Some families may choose to have all or portions of the cremains made into jewelry. Small containers for ashes are designed into wearable jewelry. There’s a website,, that offers to heat and compress ashes into an artificial diamond.

Differences in cost “The cost difference depends on the type of service,” said Ebert. “Cemetery cost, casket cost ... different routes would save.”

“I did the first in the county for a firm out of Chicago,” Uecker said. “They take the carbon in the ashes and synthesize it into memorial diamonds.”

Estate Planning

“I hear from all ends of the spectrum,” said Jim Sippel, who operates funeral homes in St. Cloud and New Holstein. “Costs, family preferences, all kinds of reasons.”

The State of Wisconsin considers cremations to be final disposition. Thus, there are few rules for dealing with ashes, although the Department of Natural Resources frowns on scattering over the waters of the state and all of the funeral directors stress getting permission

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Cremation continued from Page 9 > > >

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easing the burden

APRIL 24, 2011 |


“The whole thing is about the resolution of grief for someone. I’m just a facilitator. People have their own ideas.” He said 20 to 25 percent of his funerals are cremations. Twohig cremation rates are higher at his Fond du Lac facility — 40 to 45 percent — compared with 28 percent at Campbellsport. He’s found that many of the cremations are part of pre-arranged funerals. There was a time when some religions frowned on cremation. That’s largely changed but still may hold true in some areas. Sippel said he’s “100 percent sure ... religion has nothing to do with it anymore.”

The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher Cremation urns and containers are available in a variety of sizes and designs. These urns are available at Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Ebert said she feels beliefs are part of a family’s decision on cremation. Some, she pointed out, “are still very traditional and believe in the viewing.”

• Crypts • Cremation Niches • Cemetery Sites • Veterans Lawn Crypt & Cremation Gardens • Monuments • Caskets

“It’s not time-stamped,” Uecker pointed out. “Cremation can be delayed. There’s more flexibility.” “The whole thing is about the resolution of grief for someone,” said Mach. “I’m just a facilitator. People have their own ideas.” “We’re here to serve,” agreed Sippel. “Whatever the family is considering.” ●



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Fond du Lac


Easing the Burden  

Funeral and Estate Planning. Information about local funeral homes and crematories, end of life planning, and information about lving wills...

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