Company gives new way to remember loved ones
The Associated Press
OCEAN CITY, N.J. — As if shooting them
into space or pressing them into artificial diamonds were not sufficiently
offbeat, the deceased can now have their ashes mixed into concrete to help
form ocean fish habitats.
A Georgia company has placed about 200 of the
concrete cones, called ‘reef balls,’ in the ocean, mostly along the Gulf
Coast. Last week, it interred cones filled with the ashes of several
former New Jersey residents about seven miles off the shore as part of the
Great Egg Reef.
Eternal Reefs was founded by Don Brawley and George
Frankel in 2001 after Brawley, an accomplished diver, had the idea of
mixing human ashes with concrete to make the reef balls into
‘‘Most states with reef programs buy artificial reefs,’’
Frankel said. ‘‘We like to think that we’re buying public reef balls with
Burying a loved one’s ashes in a reef ball can cost
between $1,000 to $5,000. Decatur-based Eternal Reefs also has two models
for pets, for $400 and $500.
The balls have grapefruit-sized holes in
them to dissipate currents, and their surface is dimpled to encourage
The company received approval from the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection to put ashes in the reef
installations. The Great Egg Reef also contains decommissioned Army tanks
and old tires cabled together.
Relatives and friends of those interred
last week said they wanted to do something more tangible with their loved
ones’ ashes than scattering them or leaving them on a shelf.
thought we would get my three kids together and we would sprinkle them on
the ocean,’’ Kit Aronson, who buried the ashes of her husband Robert, told
The New York Times for Saturday’s editions. ‘‘But this is doing it in a
more identifiable fashion, where the kids can see where he is. Not in a
mausoleum or Arlington Cemetery, but outdoors.’’
Ruth Townsend, a close
friend of the Aronsons, deemed it a fitting memorial to a man who loved
‘‘For Bobby, it wasn’t about the beach, it was about the
ocean and fishing,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘This man would fish in the snow, and
this way, he’s part of the sea, and part of its renewal.’’