Sumner Cemetery manager Scott DeCarteret understands that the meetings he conducts with people about funeral arrangements are more often than not, solemn affairs.
But the cemetery’s main office where these meetings are held is undergoing renovations to make families more comfortable.
The office, which was once a garage and storage space, will become a peaceful meeting room for individuals and families to meet.
“If they need help with a funeral arrangement, we’ll meet in here,” DeCarteret said as he stood in the Sumner Cemetery’s main office. “It’ll be a little more professional. A more peaceful place to meet.”
If they need help with a funeral arrangement, we’ll meet in here. It’ll be a little more professional. A more peaceful place to meet.
Scott DeCarteret, Sumner Cemetery manager
The 400-square-foot office, which is Americans with Disabilities Act-approved, will have a double-door entrance with easy access, a restroom for visitors to use, a sink and counters for coffee, a large meeting table and a display for headstones and other products.
Before, these meetings were held in a single room at the front of the building, which was a little too tight for comfort and originally built in 1947.
Not only will the $30,000 renovated room provide a wider berth, but it will also encourage people to use the cemetery’s services, according to DeCarteret.
“The meeting room will allow us to reach out to the community, as far as helping them with their funeral arrangements,” he said.
The meeting room will allow us to reach out to the community, as far as helping them with their funeral arrangements.
Families deal with a wide range of circumstances — from long struggles with sickness to sudden deaths of youth — and each family deserves to be serviced comfortably, he said.
“It’s amazing how many people come in here and don’t know what to do,” said DeCarteret.
Last year, the cemetery began offering a pre-planning trust, which allows people to purchase a plot and to pay for services and products in advance. Since the launch, more have made appointments with DeCarteret.
Now, those families will have a more peaceful place to meet.
“It’s a place where we can talk about the future and how to best honor their life,” Decarteret said.
Construction of the new office is expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29), and will be open for visitors.