Issue: Crematory services are offered in Perry, but have never been done in-house.

Local Impact: Families now know where their loved ones are located and have the option to stay nearby their loved one during the process at the facility.

The Carris Family Funeral Home & Cremation Care will now be able to offer in-house crematory services. The Perry business recently built an additional 30 by 50-foot facility which houses the crematory and additional machinery, as well as a waiting area for family members and a separate garage.

Before the Carris’ purchased the machinery, they traveled to Des Moines to complete the crematory process.

“We used another funeral home in Des Moines that had the crematory, so we would make all of the arrangements and then I would transport the person to Des Moines to use their crematory,” Marcus Carris, Owner of Carris Family Funeral Home & Cremation Care said in a previous interview.

Purchasing the equipment helps the funeral home better serve the families, Carris says.

“The main reason we wanted to do it (purchase the machinery) was to keep control of the whole process,” Carris said. “This way they (the deceased) come back here (the crematorium) and stay in our care.”

Adjacent to the main building, the new facility offers a private area for families who chose the Carris’ cremation services.

The building houses a double garage, and upon entering the main door to the new facility, visitors land in the viewing room for loved ones.

The dimly-lit room offers seating for family members and a separate restroom. In the middle of the wall, a large window overlooks the room in which the crematory sits, allowing those to see how the process works.

For those who wish to be present but not view the process, they are able to close the blinds.

Soft music plays overhead as Carris explains the decision to add a designated area for the family members into the renovation plans.

“We wanted the option to be available for people,” Carris said. “If there’s anyone that has any questions about whether they get their loved one back or not, they can be here, watch them go in, and stay until they come out if they wish.”

“I want the process to be transparent; they can come in here, they can see what we do, it’s not behind closed doors.”

Different elements are measured in order to determine the time length of the cremation process, Carris says.

Before entering the crematory, the individual is put on a lift table to determine the weight, and other elements are put into the crematory system including the sex and what type of casket or container is used to house the body.

The crematory has two burners, one of which is identified as the “after burner,” which must reach 1,625 degrees before the cremation process starts, according to Iowa Department of Natural Resources code.

“The after-burner burns the exhaust coming out so that you see nothing coming out at the top (of the building),” Carris said. “It would burn any particles that weren’t fully consumed.”

Starting cold, the machine takes forty-five minutes to an hour to reach the 1,625 degree temperature, Carris says.

Once the temperature is reached, the cremation process takes around two hours with an additional forty-five minute wait added in order to safely obtain the remains.

Another machine is used to process the remains before they are placed inside a urn.

During the final portion of the cremation, pieces of metal, clothing buttons, and others are taken out before placed in the urn.

“It’s very dry when complete,” Carris said.

The machinery has a dust-capturing system which helps ensure safety by the user.

“There’s a vent where any dust goes inside and is captured in a filter,” Carris said. “It protects the operator from breathing in the dust.”

Carris went through different companies before purchasing the U.S. made crematory equipment.

“The manufacturer, when they were here, they delivered the equipment and went through how to operate it and do some minor maintenance things on it,” Carris said. “I did go through training with the State Association, the Iowa Funeral Direction Association - they had training for becoming a Certified Crematory Operator.”

According to Mary Carris, the funeral home has been contacted by others to use the facility.

The business believes in proficiency and handling human life with critical, delicate care.

“It’s important (providing the best service to families),” Mary Carris said. “You don’t get do-overs; it’s human life - that’s how we feel.”