Cemetery Winter Operations - How We Serve

The winter weather in the Cedar Rapids and Marion area creates many challenges for all of us in our daily lives. One question we often get is “How is Cedar Memorial able to complete burials in the winter?” With almost 90 years of experience, our associates have created a comprehensive plan that allows the families that select Cedar Memorial to have interments throughout all winter months.

With the winter weather’s often unpredictable nature, there are some interesting variables that occur. Colder temperatures before any snow arrives can help protect the turf grass from any damage. Also, once we do get snow, it can act as an insulator and prevent deep frost from setting into the ground.

The first challenge is locating the actual interment space as often several inches of snow are covering the entire cemetery. If you have visited the cemetery in the last month or so, you may have noticed many stakes that are upright throughout the cemetery and have a number, letter or combination of both on them. These stakes are placed in anticipation for the winter weather and aid in locating the lot and space location.

Once the actual space is located, the cemetery associates will remove all the snow near the location as well as a path to it from the roadway. This is done with a specialized snow broom sweeper that efficiently removes the snow while limiting possible damage that could occur if using a standard snow blower. Also, prior to many interments and depending on the location, it may be necessary to remove the bronze and granite memorial.

One of the biggest challenges comes with the actual preparation and excavation of the grave space. Depending on the frost levels there are many ways in which we will prepare the site. Most often when the frost level depth reaches a foot or more, a specially designed defroster is placed that utilizes propane heat over several hours to remove as much frost as possible. If time does not allow for a defroster to be used, we have available a variety of tools and attachments for our equipment that will physically remove frozen ground.

After the interment space has been prepared, an interment shelter is erected at the grave site. Special care is also taken to place cocoa mats to aid in foot traction and eliminate potential slips or falls when those attending the graveside services are walking from the roadways. The cemetery staff is also continually monitoring roadway conditions within the cemetery and removing snow and applying ice control as conditions require.

The associates of Cedar Memorial are dedicated to serving your family and our ability to offer timely cemetery services, even in adverse weather conditions, demonstrates our continued commitment to dignified and caring service to our community.

Greg Blood, Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery Superintendent, contributed to this article. To reach Greg please call 319-393-8000.

To learn more about Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery's dedication to perpetual care, please click here: Perpetual Care.


No Comments have been posted for this item.

Add your comment

Please keep it clean, and stay on the subject or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

1000 character limit. All comments are subject to editing or deletion.
Get Audio Code