If Dying’s In Your Future, Tacoma’s Got a Deal for You

The catch? Eternity with the Tacoma Aroma.

It's cheaper to live and, it turns out, die near Tacoma. If there's a burial in your near future, the works will cost you as little as $1,997 in University Place and as much as $8,315 in Bellevue. And that's with just your basic casket, says John Eric Rolfstad, Executive Director of People's Memorial Association of Seattle, the nonprofit cremation society.His group's 2009 price survey compiled a list of services and costs at 226 funeral homes across the state. The survey detected an even larger swing in cremation prices—from $549 in University Place to $3,944 in Bellevue, a 700 percent difference.The average price for a simple cremation across the state is $1,593; a complete funeral with a basic casket averages $4,172, excluding cemetery costs. Thing is, says Rolfstad, most people choose a funeral home because it's close to where they live, or they knew someone who used the same mortuary. "The funeral industry is able to defy the basic laws of economics because of our society's aversion to dealing with death," he notes.As SW has reported ("Six Feet Underhanded," May 31, 2006), some funeral homes sell burial plans much as high-pressure dealers sell new cars. Graveyards are also known to double up their bodies: In Renton one memorable day, two families who'd never met peered across the grave of their sons, realizing for the first time the cemetery had secretly buried both in the same grave.

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