There’s no money in cemeteries

There’s just no future in cemeteries. Just ask funeral home owner Bill McReavy, who’s trying to unload Crystal Lake Cemetery in north Minneapolis, KARE 11 reports.

He’s lost $300,000 in each of the last three years and he’s trying to give it to the city.

“It’s never going to make money,” he says.

The issue provides insight into the effects of a changing culture. We don’t want to be buried anymore.

The number of people being cremated will increase to about two of every three this year.

Insert obvious joke about a dying business here.

To make money, cemeteries need people to buy plots before they die. But even people who still want to be planted, aren’t sure they want to be planted here.

“Today of course people are living until they 80, 90 even 100 years of age. So what happens is they are a little apprehensive of where are we going to be living and are we still going to be in Minneapolis? Or not? Boy I don’t know if I should buy cemetery lots or not because I’m not positive I’m going to be living here,” McReavy said, according to KARE.

McReavy’s beef also has something to do with the way cities here pay for road improvements, by assessing the neighbors for a portion of it.

KARE says a lot of cemeteries in Minnesota are in the same boat, leading to the question of what’s going to happen to existing cemeteries in the future if they’re not making any money?

Minneapolis officials aren’t likely to bite on McReavy’s offer, KARE says.

Related: Urn with Prince’s ashes still in the building, ‘just not on display’ at Paisley Park (Star Tribune)

  • Keith P.
  • Bridget L.

    I use to work as part of a grounds keeping crew at a cemetery. Loved it. Peaceful, lots of green and full of local history. Why not rebrand them as parks? Make people want to be buried there. There has got to be another way of looking at how they are utilized if only for the burial of the dead isn’t working.

    • Barton

      On my first visit to Savannah, GA, I went to visit the Bonaventure Cemetery (I like visiting them when I’m on vacation – Paris has fabulous cemeteries). It was seriously like a park! People were having picnics with their friends/family who were buried there, there were a bunch of brass bands just walking around playing. I stopped at Johnny Mercer’s grave and was treated to a Martini by those who were visiting him – I guess it’s a tradition to bring him a drink as they poured one out about where his head would be in the coffin below. Another family offered me a slice of birthday cake (it was great granddad’s 100 and something birthday, even though he’d died like 50 years before).

    • Jerry

      The New England style cemeteries that predominate in America were originally intended to be used as parks, with people walking the paths and having picnics. That’s why they are layed out the way they are. Otherwise they would look like European cemeteries which are much denser.

  • Rob

    Just went through this. My destination is cremation, so I inquired last week at the cemetery where my mom and dad are buried, as to whether it’d be interested in buying back the plots that my mom and dad had acquired for my wife and me.

    The office said the cemetery isn’t even half-full, and so wasn’t overly interested in buying the plots back; the most they were willing to offer was the original 1960 price. My wife and I are considerating donating the plots back to the cemetery instead, with the proviso that the plots would be given to a family with limited economic means.

    • kevins

      nice idea!

  • Mike Worcester

    From a genealogists standpoint, burial grounds that are left to fall into dis-repair or altogether lost pose a challenge. Folks really do want to connect with their ancestors, and cemeteries are a prime way to do that.

    Side note — people might be surprised how many municipalities operate cemeteries.