QUEENSBURY — There’s a reason why Saturday hours at the town’s crematorium are important: The town runs the only crematorium in the entire region.
There are no others closer than Troy, Schenectady and Bennington, Vermont.
Originally, funeral director John Ross owned the crematorium next to the town’s cemetery, Pine View.
But then state law was changed to forbid funeral homes from operating crematoriums and cemeteries.
“It was the idea of checks and balances,” said M.B. Kilmer Funeral Homes President Todd Kilmer. “So he sold it to Queensbury.”
That was in 1987.
QUEENSBURY — When Michael Brunelle was hired, he was supposed to be a laborer at the town-owned Pine View Cemetery.
Ever since, the town has been in the unusual position of running an essential service. Recently, a labor dispute boiled over at a Town Board meeting when the board voted to require that the crematorium run every Saturday. Until now, it’s only been open on weekdays and occasional Saturdays.
Funeral directors have been following the dispute, because they have no other good options for cremations.
Before Ross built his crematorium, funeral directors took bodies to Troy, to be cremated at Oakwood Cemetery.
“That was the original one we used to have to go to,” Kilmer said. “It’s easier for us to go to Pine View.”
But he added that there usually isn’t a hurry about cremating a body.
“There’s a lot of things that have to be done first,” he said.
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The doctor must sign the death certificate. Then the funeral director files it. After it’s officially registered by the town clerk, the family must sign an authorization. Only then can the funeral home get a cremation permit.
At that point, it’s usually two to three days before the body is cremated, Kilmer said.
He tells families to use the time planning the service. Many services can also be held without having the ashes.
If the funeral must be held soon, with the ashes, he calls Pine View to explain. They usually can expedite the cremation in that case, he said.
“They’re good to us,” he said.
At Regan, Denny and Stafford Funeral Home in Queensbury, the town’s crematorium is still referred to as “our crematorium.”
Of course, it’s not, anymore.
“It borders our property,” said Funeral Director Mark DeSimone.
He added that he uses no other crematorium.
“There are not any around here. Pine View is the only one,” he said.
There’s no problem with waiting, he added.
“They have a holding facility,” he said.