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Couple looks to operate funeral pyre in Elephant Head - Green Valley News: Local News

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Couple looks to operate funeral pyre in Elephant Head

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 8:46 pm

An Elephant Head couple have built a funeral pyre on their property so that families can bid farewell to loved ones during an outdoor cremation in a scenic rural setting.

But Tina and Billy Hurley’s pyre, which resembles a block fireplace, faces an uphill battle before the first ceremony ever takes place.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Anonymous User posted at 11:36 am on Fri, Dec 14, 2012.

    Anonymous User Posts: 1262

    I also am a neighbor that attended the celebration at the Hurley's residence for the first burning of the pyre. They have worked incredibly hard to create a peaceful, beautiful and serene place for those who wish to have an alternative to our present form of cremation which is totally void of feeling or participation of those closest to the deceased. I may add that all of the crematoriums now operating are all "businesses" so why does it matter that the Hurly's would be using their property as a business. There are many home businesses in operation. I doubt, having been to the burning of the pyre myself that any of the neighbors were really aware of what was going on at the time of the burning. I sincerely hope that the Hurly's are able to overcome the opposition and the hurdles with the permit that they have ahead of them and are able to move forward with this idea of a respectful participation in a loved ones death.

  • Anonymous User posted at 10:10 am on Wed, Dec 12, 2012.

    Anonymous User Posts: 1262

    This is astonishingly ridiculous. Mrs. Hurley lives in Tucson during the week? This tells me she is looking to use this property of as a business expense, writing off the maintenance, property taxes, etc. And her husband is a firefighter? What relevance does that have to cremation- none as far as I can see. That’s like insinuating that a housewife who cleans mold in a shower meets the qualifications to be a bacteriologist

    I didn’t buy a home in this area so I could have Uncle Charlie’s ashes wafting across my property,and be forced to keep my windows closed and avoid being outdoors on my own property when families are bidding a fond farewell to a family member by turning them into ash. If they want to run a progressive, U.N. Agenda 21 compliant, ‘green’ business I prefer they do it way out in the wilderness somewhere- not in the midst of an area of residences. I’m sure that the preponderance of property owners out here will vehemently oppose their use of the property for this purpose and will actively work to prevent it.

  • jmb2 posted at 11:38 am on Mon, Dec 3, 2012.

    jmb2 Posts: 10

    I can understand the bereaved wanting to hold an outdoor memorial service, but I'm opposed to the idea of an outdoor crematorium. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed before this is even considered for approval.

    - What controls will there be to minimize odor and ash spreading around the area, polluting the air and ground?
    - Are the residents and visitors who are downwind of the crematorium going to be subject to the odors and ash coming from the pyre?
    - Will the cremations be prohibited during high fire-danger periods?
    - What types of environmental controls will be instituted? After all, residents and property owners have rights.
    - How will this affect property values in the area? I would not want to be living - or visiting - anywhere near this place.

    I have a feeling that this will lower property values and be a detriment to tourism as well. Just because the pyre was designed by a firefighter doesn't mean it conforms to standard regulations, or that it's an acceptable use of the property.

    I sincerely hope that the legislators in this state do not plan on proposing a change to the state law that currently prohibits outdoor cremations. If they try, they'll definitely get voted out of office.

  • Krystal Correa posted at 9:54 pm on Wed, Nov 28, 2012.

    Krystal Correa Posts: 1

    While I understand concern around this venture, I also think that the Hurleys are doing their research and are fighting to do a very special thing. There are so many religions in the world that send off their beloved dead in "alternative" ways that are not honored or celebrated in America. It will be a sacred and wonderful type of ceremony that will be genuinely appreciated by those who take place in it. By not burning on windy days, this will prevent the smoke from traveling downhill or across the valley. Death is an organic event - I feel as if this venture normalizes something that is very scary to some, and in doing so can shift some discourse to more open discussion. Having visited this home myself, I can't see how smoke concerns are valid.

  • screenname posted at 9:09 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    screenname Posts: 99

    Sounds like the Hurleys are sincerely attempting to make this a proper and respectful enterprise. However, it is just to close to people's residences. This is a residential area. It may be zoned RH, but that does not mean anything goes. While I believe the Hurley's would operate this in a professional manner, it sets a concerning presedence for future businesses of this type or who knows. Sorry, but I think they should be prevented from opening this business at this locatrion. If they truly want to do this, they need to find a remote location. Even though this is bordered on three sides by state land, it is not remote enough for outside creamations that would be ongoing and on a regular basis.

  • funeralethics posted at 8:18 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    funeralethics Posts: 1

    This is not an environmentally-friendly send-off and is an inefficient use of fuel.

  • cassandrayonder posted at 7:09 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    cassandrayonder Posts: 1

    I too dream of an open funeral pyre on our remote homestead property here in Nova Scotia Canada. It would be great to hear more about the process of establishment!
    Cassandra Yonder
    BEyond Yonder Death Midwifery

    FB Death Midwifery in Canada http://www.facebook.com/groups/306940662720202/

  • EHliving posted at 6:00 pm on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    EHliving Posts: 1

    I attended the Hurley's open house and thought it was very moving. This is a great way to share the beauty of our community with our Elephant Head neighbors as well as others. I love the idea that I could be sent to my final rest in such a beautiful natural desert setting. The Hurley's have created an intensely spiritual, calm, inviting setting that welcomes everyone.
    Any concerns that this has any impact on their neighbors is completely unfounded. The pyre is set in a valley that is not visible to any other homes and has state land on three sides. Even looking out in any direction from their home high on a hill, no neighbors are visible.
    This kind of cutting edge enterprise is just what Elephant Head needs to come together as a rural community. Everyone should experience the intensely spiritual communion of celebrating a loved ones passing. What a great way to preserve and foster our heritage.

  • AZRuth posted at 11:27 am on Wed, Nov 21, 2012.

    AZRuth Posts: 1

    Families should have many choices about how to care for their dead. There are lots of kinds of funeral homes - some very expensive and some reasonably priced. People can choose burial or "traditional" cremation and having alkaline hydrolysis, green burials or an outdoor cremation just provides more choices for families. The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southern Alliance of Southern Arizona supports a family's right to choose services that meet their needs and this is just one more option...maybe not for everyone, but families should be able to choose!


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