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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 Cemetery Association of Oregon. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and over a decade of running the Natural Burial Company, founded in 2004. 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, and I own two historic cemeteries the feature natural burial, based in Oregon.


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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Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
jimmy02/05/17101010Thanks for answering my question your advice .....
Robert12/01/16101010Your response was very helpful. The cremains .....
Jim10/28/16101010Good input confirming my own thinking as .....
Linda09/08/15101010Thank you so much! The cost of .....

Recent Answers from Cynthia Beal

2017-01-30 funeral:

Hi Jimmy,    Sorry for the delay in answering - I'm on a cemetery tour and not easily on the internet.     I imagine this question has been answered already, as any crematory or funeral director could

2016-12-01 Relocating cremains:

Hi Robert,    Lucky for you, cremated remains are 1) considered "personal property" under the law and thus not subject to regulations like dead bodies are and 2) pose no environmental or public health

2016-10-27 Veteran Dis-internment from Private Cemetery:

Hi Jim,    Welcome to the high cost of dying. :-(    Most of the Military Veterans benefits have been gutted by the Clinton/Bush administrations of the last thirty years. There's hardly anything left anymore

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


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