Funerals don't have to be expensive says East Texan

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

FLINT, TX (KLTV) - It's a small plot of land, marked by a lone headstone, surrounded by a small fence and shaded from the afternoon sun.

"This is a place for my wife and myself," said Bernard Cappelli. "We bought this property 15 years ago and decided this is where we were going to be."

After 60 years of marriage, Cappelli buried his wife on the land nearly three years ago. Foregoing the traditional public cemetery, the husband and wife wanted to keep the family together...always.

"We kinda felt like the kids will pick up from us this idea," said Cappelli. "One family and the whole family pulling together especially in times like this when things get economically rough."

Unexpected losses of loved ones make tough times tougher and more people, like Cappelli, are looking to save money in time of mourning.

"Our casket sales are up more than 50% just this year," said Steve Milam of Ferrell Caskets in Tyler. "It's up quite significantly. People are looking to save wherever they can."

Milam says funeral home costs can pile up quickly.

"When you go to a cemetery and you buy a plot - let's say you spend $1,100, $2,000, $3,000 - and you think that's going to be the only cost you'll incur," said Milam.

But, add a liner or vault, the embalming of the body, plus a marker ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and you get what Milam says is the average cost of a funeral: close to $7500. It's a cost, he says, isn't necessary.

"A lot of people don't realize you can bypass a funeral home and go directly to a mortuary and transport the body yourself and open and close the grave," said Milam.

Buying a casket directly can save you from a 200 to 500% markup at a funeral home. Burying loved ones on private land can save you money in the long run, but Cappelli says the best savings are the long lasting memories.

"It's nice to have a little spot in the world they can come to and contemplate and hopefully they'll outdo us by 10 times and that's the idea behind it," said Cappelli. "There's a family tradition there."

It's a tradition Cappelli hopes his descendants will carry on.

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