Andrews Funeral Home & Crematory recently completed a $100,000 project to open a nine-ton crematory at its Gloucester Court House location.
Jerry Andrews of Gloucester, who owns the business with his wife Ann, said they have offered cremation for many years but that service had been performed at a Hampton facility. The new crematory opened here on May 13.
The unit is so large, Andrews said, that it was brought in by tractor-trailer and a crane was needed to place it in a refurbished portion of the property. The crematory is 12 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 7½ feet tall.
There’s been increased demand for cremation in recent years, Andrews said. Twenty-five years ago cremation might have been 10 percent of total business, he said; today, cremation represents about half the business.
The crematory provides intense heat to reduce a body to ashes, also called cremains, Andrews said, which are often placed in an urn that might be retained by the family intact or the ashes scattered. Mrs. Andrews said some families bring in special containers to hold the cremains, such as one family that brought in three special teapots and another who brought a container shaped like a ship.
Andrews said it is important to meet with the relatives of the deceased to arrange an appropriate service and select transportation, headstone, flowers and other matters the family might need addressed.