As far back as history has made record, graves have been marked to identify who rests within.
In fact, the term “unmarked grave” conveys a sense of disregard about the
deceased, if not criminal concealment.
According to Terry Miller, Calvary Cemetery caretaker, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead in regard to the choice of marker.
“People who do things ahead of time get what they want,” he said. Letting your survivors choose your marker may lead to unwanted consequences. Terry explained that a grieving family tends to make snap decisions. The size of the monument, what’s engraved or etched on it, is sometimes not what the deceased would have wanted.
Some people are very concerned about what their marker looks like and what it says about them.
“The monument is what people are going to walk up and see after you’re gone,” said Terry. “It’s part of how you’re remembered.”
It’s important to know your options when choosing a marker.
At Calvary Cemetery, by order of the Diocese of Winona, all graves must be marked. The marker or monument must be made of granite, although brass is acceptable in some cases for deceased veterans.
There are basically two styles of marker — flat stone or upright monument. Some areas of Calvary allow for the upright monument, others are designated for flat stones only.
In general, basic flat stone markers cost about $500 to $800. Upright monuments start at about $1,400 and typically run to $5,000. Those can take six weeks or more to have created.
However, the notable exceptions to cost and creation are very visible at Calvary. The massive Kron Angel, weighing in at an estimated 24,000 pounds and shipped from Belgium many years ago, must have been lavishly expensive. The Follmann Mausoleum, built around 1910 for a Mankato doctor and his wife, has granite walls two feet thick. It cost $11,000 at that time. That relative cost value today is estimated at $283,000 (www.measuringworth.com).
A future post will explore some of the many options now available for imaging, etching and engraving on markers and monuments.