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At Return to Nature Funeral Home, a paper mache urn can hold the cremated remains of a loved one and could be buried to biodegrade over time. Monday, November 27, 2017.
Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
At Return to Nature Funeral Home, a paper mache urn can hold the cremated remains of a loved one and could be buried to biodegrade over time. Monday, November 27, 2017.

By Jen Mulson, The Gazette

When a funeral director is viscerally disturbed by the odor of embalming fluid, you know something is off.

That’s what happened to Jon Hallford when he bent over a casket earlier this year to kiss the forehead of a dead relative.

“It was unpleasant and chemical,” said the fourth-generation Oklahoman funeral director. “I got to thinking that, ‘Wow, I wonder how many times have I facilitated this exact same experience for other families throughout the years?'”

Those thoughts led to action, and months later, during the first week of September, Hallford, wife Carie Hallford, and Jack Dhooghe opened Return to Nature Funeral Home, the city’s first green burial funeral home. Customers can receive all the services of a traditional funeral home except embalming. No bodies will be filled with toxic fluids in their Victorian-style home south of downtown. Not if the Hallfords have anything to say about it.

Colorado is one of the top 10 cremation states. Almost 80 percent of bodies here are sent to the crematorium, Hallford said. Instead of the standard black box that most funeral homes provide, Return to Nature families are given an attractive biodegradable urn with a biodegradable bag inside.

 

To read more of this story, go to gazette.com

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