Creatively memorializing your life


Published: 08/15/2016

by Patricia Nugent

Through this monthly column we’ve explored topics relating to final arrangements—from starting the conversation to pre-planning your wishes to save money and frustration for your loved ones. Now let’s move on to the actual memorial service.


As a fifth-generation funeral director, Jeff Monreal has handled every imaginable type of memorial service to help people say goodbye.


Q: How are people choosing to creatively memorialize their life?


A: Whether a burial or cremation, there is usually a visitation for family and friends to offer condolences, support and sympathy to the family, which is then followed by a church service and memorial service.


Unique celebrations are becoming more popular. Families are opting for outlets to both honor the deceased by celebrating their passions while providing beautiful memories for those left behind.


For instance, I just planned a memorial baseball game for a young father of five children who was a huge baseball fan. About 60 family members and friends enjoyed lunch at the ballpark and played one last game in his honor. It was beautiful and touching. It’s also becoming popular to tie memorials into fundraisers that benefit a charity close to the heart of the deceased.


In terms of location, people today are more open to crafting a memorial that goes beyond the standard church service, one that’s a custom-fit to the loved one and the family. I plan memorials in parks, fields, party centers and even pubs.


Green burial is also becoming an asked-for service. I provide biodegradable caskets for environmentally sensitive people who wish their bodies to ultimately be reunited with the earth in a natural way.


Jeff Monreal Funeral and Cremation Services is located at 6330 Center Street in Mentor, and 38001 Euclid Avenue in Willoughby. Call Jeff directly at 440-527-6294 if you would like advice on pre-planning, or visit to learn more.