By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer
Muffley Funeral Home of Clovis is expanding its business with the construction of a new crematorium, which will be called High Plains Crematorium.
According to longtime employee Kevin Duncan, the crematorium will be the first of its kind in the area.
Owner Russell Muffley, who has been in the funeral business 40 years, said in previous years he and his employees had been utilizing the services of a family-owned crematorium in Belen. Muffley said the rising cost of gasoline and vehicle maintenance led him to the decision of expanding his business to include a crematorium.
“With the rising cost of everything,” Muffley said, “keeping this service local will be more cost effective.”
Duncan, who has been with the company for 13 years, said the building that will house the crematorium is being erected behind the existing funeral home located on Thornton Street. “Construction is under way,” Duncan said. “It was started the week after Christmas.
“We hope to be up and running by the middle of February.”
According to www.deathonline.net, cremation is the process of reducing a corpse to ashes by fire. In modern crematoriums, open fires are not used; instead the body is placed in a chamber where intense heat transforms it into a few kilograms of white, powdery ash. The entire process takes approximately two hours.
Depending on culture or personal choice, the ashes of the deceased can be scattered in a garden or other preferred spot, preserved in a decorative urn and kept at home or taken to a cemetery for burial in a small plot or placement in a columbarium, which is a vault with niches in the wall to receive the ashes.
“Cremation is definitely a growing trend,” Duncan said, “but it’s a personal choice.” He said many families choose to hold regular viewings and services prior to the cremation while others simply choose cremation followed by a memorial service.