Burial Question

So we buried my wife’s Grandfather this last week. Obit here

It’s my first time going through the entire burial process, and I was wondering abut one item in particualr. At the end of the funeral after the coffin was laid in the grave, the funeral home placed a concrete shroud over the coffin before filling in the dirt. Is this routine in the south? We buried him in Ft. Worth.

I’m from the northwest, and have never heard of this custom. Mrs. Lebeef seems to think it was pretty ordinary, but my curiosity was engaged. I tried to google around, but really couldn’t find anything.

So what is the straight dope? Are funeral homes on the cutting edge of anti-zombie planning, or is this a water/erosion issue?

Only reason I can see is to keep the coffin from moving due to buoyancy and the water table.

Most likely you saw the top of a burial vault, which is required by some cemeteries:

That would not be a concern in Ft Worth, TX.

Just because he’s dead, Lee, doesn’t mean the authorities might not want to take a look at the body again. As Fear Itself, points out, what you most likely saw was the vault.

Did it looks like the piece in step 2 on this site?

If yes, that’s the top of the vault.

The cemetery in which my parents and grandparents are buried requires a vault. That’s in a northern suburb of Chicago.

Nope, it was nothing that elaborate. Just a simple concrete shroud. placed over the coffin. Now that I think about it, I think Fear Itself probably hit the nail on the head.

I highly doubt that’s a factor. Otherwise cremation would most certainly be illegal. As would burial at sea.

I have been to three burials in the Northwest (Spokane area) and all three had concrete vaults. The vault shown in TOC linked site was way more elaborate than anything I have ever seen. From what I remember, the concrete box was already in the hole, the coffin was lowered into it. The lid was hidden from view of the mourners, and presumably after the service the mourners would leave, the lid would be placed.

The burials I’ve seen around the Chicago area have all included a concrete vault. When we buried my grandma out in the sticks in Arizona a couple years ago, my eyes were opened to how differently things can be done! No vault, and next to Grandpa. When the guy who ran the backhoe dug Grandma’s grave, he got a bit close to Grandpa’s, and dinged Gramp’s casket. So he just went a bit deeper to make sure there was space for Grandma’s. So when we all arrived to put Grandma in the ground, we saw the side of Grandpa’s black and silver casket, with a big dent in it. My youngest uncle said that it was appropriate for Grandma’s casket to be a little lower than her later husband’s, because that way she could kick Grandpa’s butt for eternity.

So. I also learned why caskets have bars running their length. When it was time to lower her casket, there was no fancy equipment in this tiny BFE cemetery aside from the backhoe. We laced ropes under the bars and over the top of the casket, and lowered her in by hand. It was kinda neat.

I had never realized before that, that there were different ways to do things than the concrete-lined graves I was used to.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to partially fill the hole with concrete?

Pouring the concrete in would be messier, as well as leading to something a lot more difficult to remove that those vaults. I know I have seen shared graves in the US, some of which were recent.