End of Life Planning

End of Life Planning

Our community has a rich history of gathering to support each other in death and grief. The ways of farewelling and celebrating a life are varied. We encourage you to consider in advance what you would like. This helps clarity and simplicity upon your death.

There are many choices and decisions: Burial or cremation; home visitation or storage; body preparation or immediate disposition; transport to grave or crematorium; graveside or meeting house memorial; Celo cemetery or other. The information that follows and the Pre-Arrangement form below are to guide your research and decisions regarding what you want for your body after your last breath. Members of the End of Life Committee are available for conversations as you consider your options and complete the form. They help coordinate the arrangements at the time of death.

Completed Pre-Arrangement forms are filed at the Meeting House and in the cloud. If plans are not clear or known at the time of death, contact the CFM Death and Grief Liaison Anne Maren Hogan who will guide you to resources that will support tending to all the details involved in the care required in body disposition.

Disposition Services and Support

Katherine Savage, Death Midwife and Mark Grindstaff, Yancey Funeral Services offer a range of services that can be customized to your particular end of life. As you consider your options, they and their teams are pleased to discuss how they can support any combination of community involvement. Their experience and knowledge is invaluable: home funerals, simple burial, preparation and care of the body, transport, storage, forms and legal requirements, etc.

A Death Midwife provides support after death and prior to final disposition: Katherine Savage is a death midwife. She and her team can support your family keeping your loved one at home after their last breath and before final disposition of their body. This gives more time to say goodbye and honor their passing. katherines3@gmail.com 919-810-6019 deathseedinglife.com.

Yancey Funeral Home can customize services with community involvement: Mark Grindstaff. 828 678 9962 yanceyfuneral@gmail.com. Services include:

  • Tend and prepare the body – discuss the arrangements and cost
  • Transport body – $260 (refrigeration storage no charge)
  • Arrange grave diggers (no machinery) – $600 to dig and fill
  • Cremate – $1400. Includes transport, state required paperwork, casket (required) and an urn for cremains. They use Beam Funeral Services and Crematory in Marion until they build a crematorium at their Charlie Brown Road location.
  • Coordinate with body donation centers (hold body in refrigeration until pickup

Asheville Area Alternative Funeral and Cremation: 828 258 8274. Cremation approx $1200 includes transport from Celo, cardboard casket

Funeral Consumer Alliance NC: Founded by Ernest Morgan. Good general information and a source of local information if death occurs while traveling. hello@funeralsnc.org 984 464 0120 funeralsnc.org

Full Body Donation: Acceptance of an application does not guarantee the body being accepted at the time of death. If it is, usually all donation-related expenses are paid for. Either the cremains are returned to the family (time varies) or scattered by the organization.

  • Genesis, Memphis TN 901 278 7841 genesislegacy.org
  • Restore Life, Elizabethton TN 423-631-0067
  • ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson TN 866-968-3668

Home Visitation: If you want to be at home for a day or three after death, consider who will prepare the body, get the dry ice, transport the body etc.

Celo Cemetery

All in the cemetery are remembered annually on Day of the Dead. Contact the Caretakers to arrange a site for burial and /or memorial stone: Becky Gray 828-675-5286. Astra Coyle 828-230-9050. Tim Evans 828-208-9739 or timaevans@gmail.com.

Legal Requirement: A notification of death certificate signed by a doctor or a medical examiner if no doctor was in attendance as in a sudden death. No burial permit is necessary.

Cremated ashes: Are most welcome due to the wooded, sloping nature of our cemetery and the limitation of suitable space. They can be buried or scattered.

Full body Burials: Must be ecologically friendly (bodies not embalmed) to encourage a quick return to the earth. Burial within 36 hours of death or the body iced/refrigerated.
A natural shroud/wrap or a casket made of untreated wood or cardboard (no metal). Only rhododendron or dead trees may be removed to create a site.

Coffin, shrouds/body wraps: Consider making your own or arranging who will.
Must be natural with consideration given to quick decomposition of all elements.

Grave digging: Friends and Family are welcome to dig the grave. Graves must be hand dug in the Celo Cemetery. The state requires 18” of dirt over a body though 24-30” is recommended. A 3’ deep grave is adequate for a body in a shroud. Yancey Funeral Services can arrange grave digging for a fee. Double check measurements to ensure the
hole is large enough for the coffin. The grave is dug in advance and may need protection from the rain. Ensure there are shovels and people to fill the grave after the body has been lowered. Straps for lowering the body, a bodyboard and other resources are under Margithaus.

Stone Markers: No more than 11” x 15”. Flush with the ground or not more than 8” high.
Natural river rock preferred — it engraves without chipping unlike field rock
Engraving: Yancey Memorials Dennis Wilson yanceymemorials@frontier.com 828-674-4754

Memorial at CFM Meeting House: Contact the caretaker Rachel Weir 828 675 4456 to make arrangements.

Forms and Legal Requirements

The legally required forms are available from CFM’s Death and Grief Liaison Anne Maren Hogan . Make sure your primary contacts, power of attorney and physicians have copies of all the relevant forms and that they are accessible in your home. Copies can also be filed at Celo Friends Meeting along with your Pre-Arrangement form.

  • Notification of Death form to be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services within 24 hours of death. To be signed by a doctor or medical examiner.
  • Certificate of Death to be filed within 5 days of death.
  • Statement of Death by Funeral Director for Social Security. Anyone can do this.
  • MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment). This is a Physician Order Sheet reviewed annually and prepared by a licenced physician. Ask for the ‘pink form’.
  • DNR (Do not resuscitate order) form needs to be signed by your physician.
  • Five Wishes when signed, witnessed and notarized it is a legal advance directive document.

Would you like to help?

Many tasks are involved in end of life arrangements. Let the End of Life Committee know how you can help. E.g. prepare body, dig grave, build coffin, make shroud, transport body, gather memorial stone, engrave stone, fill out/file forms, sing at grave/memorial, gather flowers, clean up grave site etc.


  • Dealing Creatively with Death: A Manual of Death Education and Simple Burial (14th edition) Ernest Morgan
  • Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal the Sacred Edge of Grief Francis Weller
  • Holding Space – on loving, dying and letting go Amy Wright Glen
  • The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise Martin Prechtal
  • Die Wise Stephen Jenkinson
  • Graceful Exits. How Great Beings Die. Stories of Tibetan, Hindu and Zen Masters

Committee Members

Anne Maren Hogan (Death and Grief Liaison): micsamann@gmail.com 828 678 1570
Donna Idol: donnaidolis@gmail.com 828 675 4631; Becky Gray: 828 675 5286
Alyssa Morgan: aromaticalysum@gmail.com 828 242 6062

Celo Community Incorporated (CCI) Burial Committee:
Linda Hart lindaehart@gmail.com 828 675 5525
Katherine Savage katherines3@gmail.com 919 810 6019