When a loved one passes away, we want to honor them and celebrate their life. But the grief and stress of the loss can make it hard to move forward, and fears about how your family and loved one will be treated and the cost of burial and a memorial can add to the stress.
When we learned that Valley Memorial Park in Novato has a cemetery, funeral home, on-site crematory, and reception event center on its premises and offers prices that are affordable for families, we wanted to learn more.
And what we discovered is that this unique cemetery and funeral home does indeed offer families a better experience.
Full-Service Cemetery, Funeral Home, On-Site Crematory and Reception Event Center at Valley Memorial Park in Novato CA
In sharp contrast to most other cemeteries and funeral homes, Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home is both-and includes a reception and event center and crematory right on site.
Sherri Richardson, marketing manager at Valley Memorial Park, explains that the full-service venue takes pressure off of grieving families. "Families who have just lost loved ones are grieving, and they have to go to the funeral home where they'll sit for hours, asking and answering questions, while their brains are numb, they're sick to their stomachs, and they haven't slept. Then they leave the funeral home and go to the cemetery and ask and answer all of the same questions again. Then they have to go to the place where they'll have the celebration of life and do it yet again," she says. "But here, you can make all of your plans just once and we can take care of the entire day for you from the first hour through the funeral to the celebration of life."
And the all-in-one location helps families stay together while remembering their loved ones. "You lose a lot of guests when you have to drive from the church or chapel to the cemetery and then to the reception hall," Sherri Richardson says. "And there's the worry and hassle of giving directions and mapping out the route. With us, that's a burden families don't have to bear. They can park and walk to the location of the service, to the cemetery, and then to the reception center without ever having to leave the property."
The reception center seats 130 guests and has a caterer's kitchen, tables, chairs, and video technology for slide shows. "All the families have to do is get a caterer or plan the food and bring tablecloths," says Richardson.
That single-location service is also key to helping families who have chosen cremation. With other cremation services, a bus usually comes to the funeral home once a week to take remains to an offsite cremation area, where they are treated before being returned to the funeral home two or three weeks later. But this can be stressful for families because of the long wait times and vagueness over who is taking care of their loved ones and whether they are being treated respectfully.
Instead, families like the security and care offered by Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home. Their onsite crematorium means that loved ones stay on the premises and can be returned to their families within 24 to 48 hours. And the fear of remains being lost or swapped out is nonexistent. "Here, we have a cremation viewing room with a private view to the side of the chamber," Richardson says. "Families can know in their heart that the cremains they get back are really those of their loved one and they've been handled with dignity."
In fact, Valley Memorial Park offers families a choice in how their loved ones are remembered, including live funeral webcasting for faraway family and friends, immediate burial, visitations and viewings, funeral and memorial services, celebrations of life, graveside services, and committal services offer a variety of memorial choices. Burial options include ground burial; mausoleums; and cremation urns, niches, and scattering gardens. Funerals for veterans can include full military honors, military chaplains, flag presentations by the American legion, and a final salute, and veterans can be interred in memorial plots, have headstones or markers provided by the Veterans' Administration, burial in a veteran's cemetery, and more.
And while Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home isn't affiliated with any denomination or religious group, its employees treat all families with respect and care. Services and memorials can be altered to fit religious or personal preferences, and burials or cremations can be handled in specific ways to meet family and individual needs.
Valley Memorial Park: Cadillac Service without a Cadillac Price
Funerals are expensive. And while family members may want to provide their loved one with a memorable celebration of life, limited finances and overwhelming final expenses can get in the way.
Compared to competitors that are big corporations, Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home is family-owned, meaning they can keep costs down and give families a better value. "We offer a Cadillac service without a Cadillac price," says Sherri Richardson. "Families are having the worst day of their lives, and we would never take advantage of them."
She explains that most corporation-run cemeteries and funeral homes have set prices and set packages that cannot be adjusted. But at Valley Memorial Park, families are in control. "We have packages with listed prices, but if a family chooses not to use all of the items in the package-if they want to supply their own flowers or thank you cards, for example-we can omit them and deduct that from the package prices."
Families also like that the prices at Valley Memorial Park are set and publicly listed, including guidelines of cemetery prices. That way there's no question what the fees will be, and it's obvious that the prices are being represented honestly and clearly. And they find that the costs are much lower than at most other cemeteries and funeral homes. In fact, the reception facilities are rented for half the price of other similar venues, and direct cremations are also around half the price of cremation services provided by competitors. "We are sensitive to our families' needs, and we want to take care of them and give them the best services regardless of their finances," Richardson says. "Having a memorable celebration of life and a beautiful place to come back to to remember your loved one should be a possibility for all families."
Additionally, Valley Memorial Park also offers preplanning and preneed insurance. "Preneed insurance follows you through your life and is a gift to your family," Sherri Richardson says. Individuals can purchase preneed insurance and property either upfront or on a monthly payment plan with no interest. They can also preplan their service or memorial, from music to pictures. "Then, on the day they need it, their family members can walk in, and we'll have the file and everything is already handled for them," Richardson says. "The area is picked out, the service is planned, and it's your last gift to your family."
Summers in the Bay Area are dry, and many cemeteries get brown by midsummer. But not Valley Memorial Park. "Were the only cemetery in Marin County that stays green all year long," says Richardson. "We use reclaimed water to maintain a beautiful, park-like setting for families when they come to visit." In fact, families and are known to visit often, even having picnics on the manicured grounds. "We're not right off of the freeway. We're in a green valley, so it's quiet and beautiful here," she adds. "Our grounds are meticulously maintained and our crew of grounds staff are constantly working to keep it looking good for our families."
We were heartened to find Valley Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home in Novato CA, where families can find a one-stop venue for funerals, celebrations of life, burials, and cremation services that also offers fairly priced services and a great value. And after talking with them, it's comforting to know that Bay Area families in Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco, and the surrounding areas have an option where they and their loved ones can be treated with kindness and respect during a difficult time.