Our Cremation Process & Info

  1. The deceased is positively identified in person, by a picture, or marking (such as tattoos or birth marks) provided by the family. (Prior to identification, the mouth and eyes of the deceased are closed by accepted methods of mortuary science (for aesthetic purposes). A disinfectant topical cleansing is performed when embalming is declined).
  2. The family, next of kin, or authorized representative must read and complete two forms: 
    • Verification of Identity of Decedent
    • Authorization for Cremation and Disposition
  3. The deceased is viewed by a Medical Examiner as required by the State of Virginia. The Cremation or Burial at Sea Certificate completed/signed by the Medical Examiner.
  4. A stainless steel ID tag is provided for each individual. This ID tag has an assigned number and it remains with your loved one during the cremation process. (Only one body will be cremated during the cremation process).
  5. The cremated remains, consisting of bone fragments, will be diligently removed from the cremation chamber and pulverized into small fragments. Because the cremation chamber is lined with porous material, it is not always possible to remove small traces of the cremated remains.
  6. Your loved ones ashes are returned in a temporary urn labeled with their name, ID number, Date of Death and the Date of the Cremation. The stainless steel ID Tag will be included within the temporary urn/ or urn selected by the family.
  7. A Cremation Certificate is provided. This is to insure that you have received your loved ones cremated remains. This would be used if you were to travel on a plane, train or any other type of passenger transportation. 

Cremation and Funerals 

A funeral service followed by cremation may be exactly the same as a funeral followed by burial. It can be elaborate or simple and traditional or nontraditional. 

Customary Cremation Service will be just like a complete funeral except cremation will follow instead of burial. This can be accommodated by the use of a special cremation casket or a ceremonial (rental) casket. Following the viewing or ceremony, and eventual cremation, the cremated remains can be buried, scattered, or returned to the family for safe keeping. Urns are used to hold the cremated remains. They are constructed of semi-precious metals, ceramics, woods or bio-degradable materials.

Memorial Service/Commemorative Gathering involves cremation soon after the death followed by a service at the funeral home or other location where the body is not present. Often the urn will be at the service as an appropriate focal point. A period of visitation may be held before or after the ceremony. 

A Non-Ceremonial Cremation refers to a cremation without any formal ceremonies.

Memorialization Options for Cremation

Niches - The cremated remains of your loved one may be safely held in a nice of a columbarium at a cemetery or one's place of worship.

Cemetery Burial - In ground burial on a family plot. Urns may be buried at the head or foot of a grave site.

Scattering - Ashes may be scattered freely within a dedicated, natural environment. Often people wish to retain some portion of the remains for commemorative purposes. Hall-Wynne maintains a large selection of special, small keepsake urns for reserving some amount of the ashes.

Personalized Memorialization - Inscribing your family member's name and a special saying on a tree plaque, park bench or other special memorial. 

Questions About Cremation

What is cremation? 

As defined by Webster

Cremate: to reduce (as a dead body) to ashes by burning. 

Origin of CREMATE

Latin crematus, past participle of cremare to burn up, cremate First Known Use: 1874 

How long does the actual cremation take? 

It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,600 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F. 

What do the cremated remains look like? 

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds of cremated remains.

Is a casket needed for cremation? 

No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is an alternative container constructed of fiberboard or wood which is cremated with the body. The only time a casket is needed is when the family chooses a public service with the body present prior to cremation. For these occasions we offer a selection of cremation caskets as well as rental caskets. 

Is it possible to have a funeral before cremation? 

Yes. A common misconception is that cremation replaces a funeral rather than an alternative to burial. In cultures outside the United States of America, where practiced widely, cremation is highly ritualized and done with ceremony at which the deceased is present. Today we find people choosing cremation simply as one step in the overall process and not as a substitute for the funeral. It is one of the reasons R.W. Baker & Co offers ceremonial (rental) caskets for the funeral prior to cremation. 

Don't most funeral homes have a crematory? 

No. Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure to a third party provider. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we own our cremation equipment at our downtown Suffolk funeral home which is operated by our fully licensed and experienced staff. 

How are the cremated remains returned? 

The cremated remains are placed in a plastic bag and plastic box for temporary containment. Most often they are put into the urn of your choice from an urn of your choice. 

Are all the cremated remains returned? 

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family. 

Can the family witness the cremation? 

Yes. We allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. Some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom. 

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains? 

We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. We only allow certified R.W. Baker & Co. personnel to operate our cremation equipment.

Virginia Law 18VAC65-20-436. Standards for registered crematories or funeral establishments that operate a crematory: