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Cynthia Beal


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Typical questions include 1) Where can I go for a natural burial? 2) What types of coffins, urns and other "packaging" are best for natural decomposition? 3)How do I plan for a natural funeral? 4) Do I have to be embalmed? and other questions in this vein. I'm available to answer general consumer questions about natural burial, home and natural funerals, and sustainable cemetery management. I answer questions about general cemetery matters, and offer suggestions about how to deal with remains, cremated or buried, interment rights, rules for cemeteries and plot owners, covering conventional as well as alternative options. I also answer questions from professionals, home funeral guides, and family members about how to manage a natural funeral either in the mortuary or at the home, how to best use natural coffins and urns, and how to convert cemeteries to natural, sustainable practices. I will answer questions from volunteer cemetery managers about how to offer natural burial in their rural, Pioneer, or non-profit cemeteries. If I don't know an answer I'll refer the questioner to someone who does. DISCLAIMER -- I am a certified pre-need sales person in the State of Oregon. I am not a licensed attorney, tax adviser, estate planner, funeral director, embalmer, accountant, public official, or any other professional that may be associated with issues the question brings up and any answers I provide should not be relied upon if such expertise is required by the asker (as per the All Expert suggestion). I provide my own personal opinions, based on my experience in business, Nature and its systems, and with human beings after 55 years of life on the planet.

Experience in the area

Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Sustainable Cemetery Management Group. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and 9 years running the Natural Burial Company. I've done some consulting for existing and start-up natural cemetery operations. I'm currently an instructor at Oregon State University, facilitating the creation of a program in sustainable cemetery management and stimulating research in cemetery-oriented processes and functions.


ICCFA - International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association Green Business Network Funeral Consumers Alliance


American Cemetery Magazine; Funeral Business Advisor; Real Goods Source Book; American Funeral Director Magazine, etc.


There is no degree in natural burials or funerals, and no accredited education provided for sustainable cemetery management. We're developing a program at Oregon State University but it hasn't fully launched yet.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Linda09/08/15101010Thank you so much! The cost of .....
Kim08/26/151010I greatly appreciated the Expert's information and .....
Cindy Goldman08/26/15101010Thank you for your most complete answer .....
Benedictine 04/10/15101010 The answers I got were clear .....

Recent Answers from Cynthia Beal

2016-07-17 Decomposition Questions:

Hi Allison,    I'm so sorry that your best friend transitioned and that her wishes weren't known in advance (please write yours down and give them to your family!!!!)  :-(    Your friend is going to take

2016-07-13 Second Right internment:

Hi Anna --    Boy, that's some pricey second right!! It's good your BS detector went off!    1) The cemetery - not the State - sets interment rights prices, and they can charge anything they want. 4000

2015-09-06 Bringing ashes home:

Hi Linda,    Lucky for you, it's easy to remove - and move - cremated remains. Doubly lucky for you, all you need to do is contact the VA Cemetery and ask them how to go about it, and what their charges

2015-08-24 Parent's cemetery plots/ownership:

Hi Cindy,    Boy, that's a complicated setup!I feel for you.    Cemetery laws vary from state to state, and the issue of who can arrange for a disinterment is ALWAYS a sticky one if it's in dispute since

2015-08-17 depth needed for urn placement in cemetery:

Hi James,    The depth of an urn placement generally is - and always SHOULD be - up to the cemetery and its customers, and never a legal matter! There's no health and safety reason to place the urn at


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