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In a move away from tradition, cremations increase

Rosa, the longtime district manager of Community Board 12 in the Bronx who died in March 2015 at age 69, directed that she was to be cremated and her remains placed at Woodlawn Cemetery. “Never in a million years would I have thought that this is what she would have wanted,” he said, explaining that he had expected her to say she wanted a traditional burial at St. Raymond’s, a Roman Catholic cemetery near the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge where celebrities like Billie Holiday and Frankie Lymon are interred. The cremation rate in 2016 achieved a milestone, edging past 50 percent to 50.2 percent, up from 48.5 percent in 2015, according to a report issued recently by the funeral directors’ association. By comparison, burials accounted for 43.5 percent of funerals last year, down from 45.4 percent in 2015, and the president of the association, W. Ashley Cozine, predicted that the cremation rate would continue to rise. The reasons include the weakening hold of religion on American life as well as a loosening of strictures against cremation by some denominations. “Most funeral directors have seen a lot of families move away from tradition, move away from ceremony,” said R. Bryant Hightower Jr., the secretary of the funeral directors’ association, and in their minds, ceremony and tradition are tied to the burial side more than the cremation side.

Article by By James Barron (c) Page One News - Read full story here.