JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

A co-op when you need it

March 17th, 2004 · No Comments

The other day I wrote a piece describing how I lost my brother. What I wanted to mention – but couldn’t remember the name – was the organization that helped my family: People’s Memorial Association (PMA).

Tuesday’s Seattle Times had an article
How to Plan Your Own Funeral
that included a link to PMA.

PMA is a non-profit that allows members to purchase funeral services at a much lower rate than charged by funeral homes. They function as consumer-protection agency and as a co-op.

From their mission:

Founded in 1939, People’s Memorial Association values responsible advanced planning, dignity, privacy and individual choice. Its mission is:

* To educate the public regarding cremation and burial.
* To promote planning for end-of-life decisions.
* To diminish the exploitation and confusion of survivors.
* To make available a variety of death care options that are both dignified and affordable.

One of the errands I helped my mom do, after I flew home to say goodbye to my brother, was to mail the application to PMA. I can still see myself stuffing the envelope into the slot at the post office. I’m not sure PMA had received it before my brother died. But they still accepted him as a member and allowed my mom to receive their services and rates. PMA also meant my mom knew who to call and what it would cost. It was a blessing.

On the PMA website is a link to a Seattle P-I article :

The PMA offers four different plans, including burial and funeral services. But about 80 percent opt for direct cremation, without embalming or viewing, said Carolyn Hayek, a former district court judge who is the PMA executive director.

Members pay a one-time fee of $15 and fill out forms describing their preferences and authorizing disposition of their body. Those go on file with four funeral homes that provide services at a guaranteed price. When a member dies, a relative calls the main contractor, Bleitz Funeral Home, to have someone pick up the body and meet with the family.

The PMA’s price for direct cremation is $570, the lowest retail price in the area. Direct cremation can cost as much as $2,000 in this region, according to a PMA survey of 36 funeral homes and crematories in 2000. The average cost among those surveyed was $1,080.

PMA offers many benefits to members…to those who are willing to think ahead….

Tags: family