Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find the answers to some of the most common questions relating to the value of a funeral or cremation service. If you have further questions, please contact us and we will do our best to provide you with clear answers.

What is Cremation and how does it work?

Cremation is defined as the reduction of a dead human body to ashes through direct exposure to intense heat and flame.

The process of cremation happens in a building called a crematory or crematorium. There are more than 1,000 crematories in the United States and Canada today. Ballard-Sunder’s Reflections Crematory is located in Jordan, Minnesota. It is the only crematory in Scott County.

Within a crematory is a special stainless steel vault called a cremation chamber, or retort. Once a body has been prepared for cremation it is placed in a cremation container, and the container is slid into the cremation chamber. Then the chamber door is tightly sealed, and a trained crematory operator begins the cremation process.

Cremators use white hot heat inside the cremation chamber. This intense heat allows the body to burn until only bone fragments remain. The cremation process takes about 2-3 hours.

Following the cremation, the remains are further processed and refined to a consistency similar to coarse sand. These remains are white or grey in color and are referred to as ashes or cremated remains.

These remains are now sealed in a transparent bag and placed in an urn selected by the family. The remains weigh about 5 lbs. and are similar in size to a 5-lb. bag of sugar.

Can I see my loved one before they are cremated?

Yes. In fact, grief experts believe that you SHOULD view your loved one. This is very important to the grieving process. We are able to accommodate a variety of opportunities for this viewing to take place. It could be a traditional service where the body is present for the funeral with cremation following the service. Or there could be a private family viewing prior to cremation. You will know what is right for your family, and we are able to coordinate all possible options for you.

What is left of the body after the cremation?

After the cremation is completed small pieces of bone remain. Those remains are further processed and refined into a consistency similar to that of coarse sand. These remains are white or grey in color and are referred to as ashes or cremated remains. The remains weigh about 5 lbs. and are similar in size to a 5-lb. bag of sugar.

How hot does it get in the cremation chamber?

The cremator must reach a temperature of 1400 degrees Fahrenheit before the cremation can begin. The majority of the cremation takes place between 1600 – 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long does a cremation take?

The length of the cremation depends on a number of factors (i.e. person’s size, sex, cremation number of the day). It takes about 30 minutes for the cremation chamber to warm up. Then the cremation itself takes 2-3 hours, and another hour to cool down.

Do I need to buy a casket to be cremated?

No, you do not need to buy a casket to be cremated. Minnesota state law requires the use of a Cremation Container during the cremation process. Cremation Containers range from a basic Alternative Container (made of cardboard and plywood) to a traditional casket made of solid wood.

What can we do with the ashes of our loved one?

When cremation is chosen there are many options available to you to memorialize and commemorate. Ashes can be scattered in a favorite spot, buried at a cemetery, placed in a columbarium, kept by a family member or a combination of these. Knowing all of options and understanding how they can be personalized to suit your wishes is important.

What should I tell my kids about cremation?

This really depends on age, maturity and a number of other factors. Please feel free to call or email us with your specific situation. We’re happy to send you some information.

Is there any part of the cremation process that I can be involved with?

Yes. Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation is proud to provide the families we serve with an opportunity to witness and be present for the cremation process. Witnessing the cremation of a loved one is similar to being present for the burial of a casketed body at the cemetery. Many families choose to be a part of this process and witness the cremation from our ceremonial room which overlooks the crematory. This is another way for you to be with your loved one every step of the way.

Is embalming required if I choose cremation?

In most cases, embalming is not required prior to cremation.

Can I have a traditional funeral and be cremated after?

Absolutely. A large number of the families we serve choose to have a traditional funeral with their loved one’s body present for services. Following the service we bring their loved one to our crematory rather than going to the cemetery for burial. This is a great way to give everyone an opportunity to see their family member or friend one last time and to say their goodbyes while still allowing for cremation.

How do you know you are cremating the right person?

We are proud to offer exclusive crematory services to the families we serve. This means that only families being served by our funeral home have access to our cremation facilities. Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation does NOT contract cremations out to a third-party vendor like other funeral homes in the area. So your loved one always remains in our care.

We have an extensive identification process and cremation policy in place. These are enforced by our on-staff Certified Crematory Administrators. This ensures that we are following all necessary legal requirements and providing the families of Scott County with an extra level of service that only Ballard-Sunder can offer.

What is the Catholic Church’s stance on cremation?

It’s important to identify and clarify the values, beliefs and practices significant to you and your family that will guide the decisions you make at the time of a death.

The Catholic Church does allow for cremation. However, the Church prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body, because the presence of the body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in these rites. Following cremation, the Church requires that the ashes remain whole and are buried either in-ground or above ground in a columbarium. If you have further questions regarding the Church’s stance, please talk to your pastor or the Archdiocese.

(Cremation for Catholics: Questions and Answers. St. Paul/Minneapolis: Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 2011. Print.)

What is a funeral?

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.

What type of service should I have?

The type of service conducted for your loved one is specified by your family. Our directors are trained to help your family arrange the type of service you desire. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at our gathering space. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of your family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to your family’s community and religious affiliations.