Cremations on the Rise in Weak Economy

Reporter: Sally Delta

Lynchburg, VA - People across the country are having trouble affording to bury their loved ones, and now some families are changing the way they send them off.

Hubert Farrow's fiancee Linda died in 2009.

"She stayed in the hospital all the time, UVA and everywhere," Farrow said. "I took care of her until she died."

Her health was so bad that she couldn't work. No job meant no insurance and no way to pay for a funeral.

"At the time I couldn't afford it and her people couldn't afford it so we had to do what we had to do," said Farrow.

What he had to do was cremate Linda. According to Tharp Funeral Home, it's a choice a lot of people are making.

Funeral Home Owner Chris Tharp says in the last ten years Lynchburg's overall cremation rate has doubled.

Cremations are typically half the cost of the average burial services at around $5,000, according to Tharp.

If you opt out of a gathering and viewing, it's only $3,000.

"Folks are opting for donation to science as a way to address cost," said Tharp.

Tharp said this change in tradition might continue to rise.

"At this point, families have been to cremation services and memorial services and they're more comfortable with cremation, so naturally that leads to more families choosing it," said Tharp.

Farrow said it was a hard choice to make.

"I don't believe in cremation; I'd like to have given her a proper burial," said Farrow.

Tharp said he sees people like Hubert Farrow, who come in every week to his place and have a hard time paying for a funeral. He says he does his best to work with each customer to try to help them out.