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Study: More people choose cremation

By: Joshua Zuber
EL PASO, Texas -- The business of death is changing in El Paso and across the country.

According to the Cremation Association of North America, by 2017, one in two Americans are expected to choose to be cremated over a traditional burial.

Gilbert Salcido, his wife and sons visited Emma Salcido on a Thursday
afternoon at Memorial pines cemetery in Sunland Park, N.M.

She is Gilbert's mom and was cremated about three months ago. 

"Today it's my mom's birthday that's why we are here to see her. She loved the mountains and was always drawing mountains," Salcido said.

"That's the reason I chose this place. I mean, we've got the Franklin Mountains right in front of her. We did the cremation and when we got it back it was a closure and it put me at ease because I don't remember my mom being in a casket."

Steve Vargas, owner of San Jose Funeral Home confirmed this trend at his business. 

"We've seen probably about a 40 percent increase in cremations,"Vargas said.

Cremation is likely to stay popular as space in cemeteries becomes scarcer. There are several other factors as well, like the cost being around half as much as a traditional burial and convenience.

"A lot of times people that don't live in the city and they are from out of town, they will choose to cremate their loved ones and it's easier for transportation," Vargas said.

What family and friends are doing with the remains is also changing.

"We do offer jewelry if family members would like a little portion of the cremated remains," Vargas said. 

Although for Salcido and his family, remembering his on a beautiful fall day, a memorial is the best choice.

Salcido hopes to be by her side because he plans to be cremated also.

"We're hoping to purchases the spaces next to her shortly," he said.

One cemetery KFOX 14 found that has open space and isn't seeing a rise in cremations is at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.



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