— Gary Hogle
(Scandia, MN) — December 1, 2022 — Death is a painful subject Americans try to avoid, but one that none of us can escape. Those left behind suffer both emotionally and financially, with funeral costs in North America averaging between $7000 to $12,000 for a full-service burial.
Jan and Gary Hogle are siblings who seek to ease both burdens through their company, Dad’s Ashes, a scattering service that offers a personal and more affordable alternative to traditional burial. The Minnesota-based company helps to get ashes (referred to as cremains or cremated remains) to their final, desired location. The name comes from their father who passed in 2015 and left no clue where he wanted to be put to rest, saying only, “As long as I’m buried with your mother, I’m good.” The siblings soon realized they were not alone with this important, final decision.
The idea of an ash scattering service is new to many, especially the notion that ashes may be scattered in a variety of locations outside of a cemetery. Gary notes, “We can take you to your favorite fishing lake…or under the big trees in the Northwest, to a volcano in Hawaii, or to a glacier at the base of Denali. We like to ask, where’s your special place? If we can get there and it’s allowed, we’ll get it done. That people are increasingly choosing these options reflects a societal shift in how our culture deals with death. And it’s a good thing.”
The Hogles find that people react very differently to the concept of a service to scatter cremains. “It’s mostly men who cringe and see it as having what we call a high ‘ick’ factor,“ Jan explains. “Women are more intrigued and ask for details. Well, women are the ones more likely to have to take care of the icky parts of life, aren’t they?”
Cremation is increasingly chosen over traditional burial for many reasons, but with it comes a new problem: families leaving cremains at funeral homes or forgotten on a closet shelf. Some become emotionally frozen and unable to deal with picking up their loved ones. Such was the case of a recent Dads Ashes client. The Hogles were able to return that gentleman “back into the world” and provide closure for the family.
One consideration the siblings point out: Traditional cemeteries are filling up. Cemeteries may offer scattering gardens for cremains, but often these gardens are small areas where ashes from unrelated individuals may end up mingled together. Personalized scattering services offer a more dignified, secure, and respectful final resting place.
Traditional cemeteries are also at risk of closing when the managing organization ceases operation. Cemeteries and private lands used for scattering routinely close when the land is no longer maintained and the property is sold for other purposes. Public lands are better protected and often easier for relatives or descendants to visit.
Dad’s Ashes is a small family business based in Minnesota, with current destinations in the U.S. and Canada. Locations near the home office are priced at $795 and proportionally higher for more distant or exotic places. Their clients are often families, but they also cater to governmental, nonprofit, and commercial entities. Further details are available at https://dads-ashes.com.