How to Create Lasting Memories with Customized Memorials

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Focus on the Personal and Visual to Tell A Life’s Story

Each memorial can truly be a one-of-a-kind work of art that makes it possible for an individual to express his or her religious devotion, patriotism and personal passions.

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Memorial Day is a time to think fondly of those who have passed, as well as an opportunity to consider how we want to be remembered for future generations. From the Egyptian pyramids to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C., the emotional importance of memorializing the dead transcends history and cultures.

"Memorialization satisfies a deep-seated human need to remember and to be remembered," said Rob Newcombe, president of Matthews Cemetery Products. "In today's completely customized society, the desire for personalization extends beyond life. In fact, nearly half of all consumers* say that personalization has an extremely significant or significant impact on their funeral and memorial preferences.”

Whether you choose a headstone, gravemarker or cremation urn, Newcombe offers the following advice for creating a memorial that represents and celebrates life:

  •     Plan ahead. Approximately one in five people (20.8 percent)* with recent experience planning a funeral or memorial say the wishes of their loved ones were not known because they hadn't provided written or verbal guidance. Take control over the final details of your life and alleviate a future burden from those closest to you by planning in advance the details of your memorial and sharing your after-life preferences with family and friends.    
  •     Illustrate your life story. Images can transform a memorial into a visual biography by depicting all aspects of a life – from military service to special honors to leisure activities. For example, the Matthews Lasting Memories™ collection allows you to add up to eight of your favorite photos – such as snapshots with your children, your fishing pole, a favorite car or your family home – to a memorial plate through a patent-pending bronze casting process. The result is a highly detailed and extremely personal memorial that can be used in conjunction with ground burials, cremation and mausoleum entombments. Professional designers work closely with individuals or families to create detailed renderings of each memorial.
  •     Select the right words. Memorials can communicate much more than birth and death dates. While many people choose to have a favorite religious verse or inspirational quote engraved, also consider an excerpt from a beloved poem, lyrics from a song or even a special message to loved ones.
  •     Involve family and friends. Asking loved ones to participate in designing your memorial can make the process less intimidating and help them to fully understand your final wishes. Look through old family photo albums together, and share anecdotes and favorite stories that may provide inspiration when selecting the creative elements of your memorial.    

"Whether it's just adding a photo or more detailed information and imagery, families have told us that personalized memorials provide future generations with more information about their past and evoke powerful memories among visitors to the gravesite," said Newcombe. "Each memorial can truly be a one-of-a-kind work of art that makes it possible for an individual to express his or her religious devotion, patriotism and personal passions."

For more information about Matthews, visit

*The Matthews Consumer Study was conducted in August 2009 and surveyed approximately 1,600 individuals about their experiences with funeral and memorial products.    

About Matthews International Corporation
Matthews International Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is a designer, manufacturer and marketer principally of memorialization products and brand solutions. Memorialization products consist primarily of bronze memorials and other memorialization products, caskets and cremation equipment for the cemetery and funeral home industries. Brand solutions include graphics imaging products and services, marking products, and merchandising solutions. The company's products and services include cast bronze memorials and other memorialization products; caskets; cast and etched architectural products; cremation equipment and cremation-related products; mausoleums; brand management, printing plates, pre-press services and imaging services for the primary packaging and corrugated industries; marking and coding equipment and consumables, and industrial automation products for identifying, tracking and conveying various consumer and industrial products, components and packaging containers; and merchandising display systems and marketing and design services.


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Erin Kane

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