Columbarium, A Final Rest

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This week is the time between Western Easter, last Sunday, and Eastern Orthodox Easter, next Sunday. Perhaps it is important to reflect on the afterlife. If you would like to remain in San Francisco for your personal afterlife, the only place you can reserve a spot is at the Columbarium in the Richmond. The 1960s music promoter Chet Helms is already there.

There are only three cemeteries within The City limits: The historic San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio; the graveyard next to Mission Dolores; and Columbarium. The first two are no longer accepting reservations. A “columbarium” is defined at as a resting place for cremated remains. Our San Francisco Columbarium is an official historic landmark, established in 1898 as a part of the original Odd Fellows Cemetery. Here is a tour of the building, including some of the personal items in some of the niches:

Baby Boomers have been reinventing traditions since the 1960s. A National Funeral Directors Association survey reported that 71 percent of Baby Boomers do not want traditional funerals.  Enter the Bay Area’s Barbara Gibson of

Gibson says she operates “like a wedding planner,” only the plan is for how you want others to celebrate your life once you have left. That can include choosing a color scheme, a graphic design theme and a menu for a final party. There are practical considerations too, such as planning for a “digital executor,” for all of those online communities that need to know of your departure. Gibson says her business is catching on and she is receiving calls from across the country.

She launched her business last November, on the “Day of the Dead.”