Frequently Asked Questions

We have heard tons of questions, and Howe Mortuary has chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes.

- What is a funeral?
A funeral is a ceremony of proven worth for those who mourn. A funeral provides an opportunity for survivors and friends who share in the loss to express respect, love and grief. It allows facing the reality of death. Through the funeral, the bereaved takes the first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss of a loved one. 

- What kind of service should I have at Howe Mortuary?
Only you or you family member can answer that question. The service type is usually decided by the immediate family. The service is usually held at a place of worship such as a church or at Howe Mortuary. The service may vary depending on religious denomination or the wishes of the family. You can also have a private service where you have selected relatives and close friends attend. A memorial service is usually done without the body present and is dependent on the family community.

- Can I personalize my funeral service?
Yes, and we highly recommend personalizing your funeral service. A funeral is a celebration of life and our funeral directors are open to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is made to your wishes. There are a number of factors that you can customize in a funeral. Contact Howe Mortuary at (303) 776-2434 to discuss the possibilities.    

- Why should we have a open viewing?
One of the reasons to have a public viewing is because it is part of many ethnic and cultural traditions, and grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping family recognize the reality of death. A viewing is encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the whole process is explained well. 

- What is an obituary notice for?

An obituary lets the community and friends see the when the death happened and what type of service is being held. A notice can be placed in online or place in a local newspaper. 

- What is the purpose of a funeral director?

A Funeral Director acts as an administrator and caregiver. As a caregiver, funeral directors are advisors, supporters and listeners. They have heavy experience in assisting the bereaved in dealing with a death of a loved one. They are trained to answer any questions about grief, can recognize when a person is having difficulty coping. 

- What should I do if the death occurs on the weekend or the middle of the night?
Howe Mortuary is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us at (303) 776-2434. If you need immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there shortly. If the family would like to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. Then they will come when the time is right. 

- What should I do if a death occurs while i'm away from home?
Your funeral director can guide you i a death occurs. If a death occurs somewhere around the globe. Contact a Howe Funeral Director immediately. They will take and assume responsibility and make arrangements for the return the deceased back to their community. In the place of death a funeral director will use services that will enable them to act as their agent. 

- What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming preserves the body, slows down the decomposition process, and enhances the aesthetic of a body disfigured by traumatic illness or death. It makes it possible to extend the time between death and the final resting place, thus members of the family have time to arrange and participate in the type of service comfortable to them. Embalming the body enables mourners to look at the deceased if they so desire. The emotional benefits of a viewing the deceased could be crucial in helping loved ones coping with death. 

- Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But factors such as time, health and possible state laws might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air in order to be compliant with federal and state laws. 

- Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to a burial or entombment. We can assist you with information regarding a funeral with a cremation or memorial service.  

- Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not hinder having a visit period or a funeral service. Cremation is one option for the final disposition of the body.

- Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
Yes, but slowly. 

- Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Yes, a person who dies of AIDS is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with personal or local customs, that option is highly encouraged. Touching of the deceased's hands or face is perfectly safe. 

- How much does a funeral cost?
Funerals can cost as small as $1000 for a direct disposition. For an full-service funeral for and adult consumers choose to spend an average of $5000. This includes all services such as: embalming, transfer-of remains, us of viewing facilities and ceremony facilities. 

- Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have grown no faster than the consumer price has. 

- Why are funerals so expensive?
In some ways, funerals are a lot like birthday or wedding celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to budget and what loved one wants. A funeral home is a 24-hour, work-intensive business, with extensive facilities (chapels, viewing rooms, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. The cost includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate legal forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, newspapers, florists and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to what the media says, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.

- What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
While most funeral homes provide excellent services, sometimes things can go astray. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at, using the online complaint form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau, or your state consumer protection office.

- Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Normally it is the family. There are union, veteran, and other organizations that pay for funerals. Most funeral directors are aware of the of most benefits and know how to get them for the indigent. Funeral Directors often absorb costs beyond what is provided by agencies to insure a respectable burial. 

Questions on Cemeteries 

These are the most commonly-asked questions. If your isn't listed, we welcome you to call Howe Mortuary at (303) 776-2434.

- Are cemeteries running out of space?
Just like any other open space, cemeteries are affect by increased population density in both rural and urban cities. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, there are premiums in some areas. 

- What is Perpetual Care?

"Perpetual Care" refers to the correct terms Endowment Care or Permanent Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to help the with the upkeep of the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.

- Can the vault be custom?
Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized artwork, name plates, and even military insignias. 

- Are there vaults for cremated remains?
Yes, we offer a number of urn vaults, made specifically for an in-ground burial of cremated remains. 

- Can two cremations be performed at once?
No. Not only is it highly Illegal to do, most cremation chambers do not have sufficient room to accommodate more than one adult. It would be impossible to perform multiple cremations simultaneously. 

- Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes, for a small fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is built to allow loved ones to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, it is apart of some religious group's funeral customs. 

- Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No, embalming is not required. It is always up to you or if the deceased has stated what he or she wanted. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a viewing of the body; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a quiet  family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by rail or air, or because of the time before the burial. 

- Do i have to buy a burial vault?
In most parts of the country, the laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have a container that will not sink the ground as well. A burial or grace liner will satisfy these requirements. 

- What are the positives of a mausoleum burial?
Mausoleum crypts are both dry and clean. A mausoleum may offer an alternative for those who simply do not want to be put in the ground. Furthermore, with the shortages of available land, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombment in the least amount of space. 

- What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is located within a mausoleum, garden setting or in a chapel, is constructed with numerous compartments designed to hold multiple urns.