January 2023

Page A22 January 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A by KNAUER INDUSTRIES A crew of eight spent five hours on Saturday handdigging Nixon’s grave, which was located near his presidential library and birthplace in Yorba Linda. Interestingly, the Nixon birthplace and library is not licensed as a burial ground in California. Upon the death of Mrs. Nixon, which occurred before her husband’s death, Rose Hills contracted the California Department of Consumer Affairs to discover what steps had to be taken to gain permission for any burial on the grounds. The Cemetery Act in California does not apply to cemeteries operated by a church. The Nixon burial plot was deeded from the Nixon Library to the Yorba Linda Friends (Quaker) Church, of which the president’s father had been a charter member at the turn of the century. In doing so, the library was able to bypass all the requirements that might have seriously delayed the burial of the president. Upon arrival in California, the president’s body was transported to the Nixon Library and laid in repose. A public memorial service was held on April 27 and attended by dignitaries from 85 countries as well as all five living presidents of the United States, the first time that five U.S. presidents attended the funeral of another president. Carried by eight military pallbearers representing all branches of the United States military, Nixon’s body was placed in the library lobby and lay in repose from the afternoon of Tuesday, April 26 to the afternoon of Wednesday, April 27. Despite severe rain, police estimated that roughly 50,000 people waited in lines for up to 18 hours to walk past the casket and pay their respects. President Bill Clinton announced Nixon’s death in the White House Rose Garden and proclaimed a National Day of Mourning five days later. The funeral service was held on Wednesday, April 27 on the grounds of the Nixon Library. The service was attended by over 4,000 people. In addition to that, about 15 eminent persons and 86 ambassadors were also presented. On April 22, 1994, Richard Nixon died after suffering a stroke four days earlier at the age of 81. Nixon suffered a cerebrovascular accident on April 18, 1994, at his home in Park Ridge, New Jersey and was taken to New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center. Nixon slipped into a deep coma and died four days later. The Vander Platt Funeral Home in Wyckoff, New Jersey, which had been highly recommended to the Nixon family by a close friend, was selected to serve the family and prepare the president for removal to California. The president’s remains were embalmed on Friday and casketed on Saturday in a Marsellus 710 Presidential mahogany casket. His body was flown to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Orange County, California via SAM 27000, the presidential plane used as Air Force One while Nixon was in office. In California, funeral arrangements were conducted by Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary of Whittier. Gary Baker, who was the Vice-President of Rose Hills, was in charge of the funeral arrangements. Rose Hills had a long-standing relationship with the Nixon family dating back to 1917. The president’s grandparents, his parents, and three of his brothers rested on the grounds of the beautiful Rose Hills Cemetery. Richard M. Nixon the thirty-seventh President of the United States of America Rest in Peace, Mr. President. That was the hope...that our presidents would rest in peace, but that has not always happened. For example, between 1865 and 1901 Lincoln’s remains were moved 18 times. Funerals are a reflection of how people live their lives, and this remains true for the funerals of our U.S. presidents. This series offers a glimpse into the deaths and funerals of our presidents, while offering overdue recognition to the scores of funeral professionals who labored ceaselessly to carry out the wishes of the presidents, their families, and in some cases, the wishes of the United States government. Each account tells an interesting story. —TVB The funeral service was officiated by the Reverend Doctor Billy Graham, a friend of Richard Nixon, who called him, “one of the most misunderstood men, and I think he was one of the greatest men of the century.” Eulogies were delivered by Graham, Henry Kissinger, Senator Bob Dole, California Governor Pete Wilson, and President Clinton. Dole could not hold back his tears at the end of his speech, a rare show of emotion in public for the senator. Following the service, Nixon was laid to rest beside his wife; Pat had died on June 22, 1993. They are buried only steps away from Richard Nixon’s birthplace and boyhood home. The funeral was also the last major public appearance of former President Ronald Reagan, whose affliction with Alzheimer’s disease was announced later that year. Ten years later, on June 5, 2004, Reagan would become the next former President after Nixon to die. President and Mrs. Nixon are buried in identical vaults and identical mahogany caskets. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at Todd W. Van Beck is the Director of Professional Development at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science where he began his career 40 years ago. He is one of the best known and most wellregarded practitioners, educators, writers and speakers in the funeral profession. On May 30, 2018 Van Beck celebrated 50 years in funeral service. You can reach Todd at 615-327-3927. By Todd Van Beck Rest In Peace, Mr. President Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 53.2% of people have planned or attended an in-person funeral or memorial service; 13.6% attended a service virtually; 8% experienced the death of someone close to them but there was no funeral or memorial service; and about one-quarter did not plan or attend a service. Respondents who’s loved one was immediately buried or cremated without a service were divided on their opinions and experiences. Most respondents in 2022 cited price as their main reason for not having a funeral/memorial service for their loved one (37.1%; up from 10.7% in 2020) – not surprising given recent economic challenges. Despite not having a service for their loved one, more than one-third felt it is very important or important to hold a funeral or memorial service to commemorate the life of a loved one and 37.1% felt it is somewhat important. Additionally, among those who did not hold a service for their loved one, 29% wish they would have held a service and 35.5% said they would be very likely or likely to plan a service if they experienced the death of loved one in the future; 37.1% would be somewhat likely to plan a service in the future. “This group also experienced more difficulty moving forward in their grief compared to other groups,” said Gillespie. “They were significantly less likely to feel they adequately paid tribute, found meaning and were able to adequately say goodbye to their loved one. All of this data indicates a tremendous opportunity for funeral homes to educate their community about the value of meaningful memorialization in the healing process and persuade families to plan services in the future.” Respondents who attended a funeral or memorial service since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic felt more favorably toward funerals than those who attended a service NFDA Consumer Survey Shows the Value of Attending Funerals in Person BROOKFIELD,WI— In the second edition of its “Value of a Funeral” Consumer Study, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) learned that people who attended a funeral in person found the service meaningful and healing compared to those who attended a service virtually or did not attend a service because a direct disposition option was chosen for their loved one or friend. The study also showed that among the individuals who did not attend an in-person service, a significant portion would be willing to consider planning a funeral or memorial service for a loved one in the future. “We first conducted the ‘Value of a Funeral’ Consumer Study in 2020 to measure how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Americans’ experiences with funeral and memorial services,” said NFDA research manager Deana Gillespie. “We wanted to gauge whether funerals helped people say goodbye to loved ones in meaningful ways, assess opinions of funeral service professionals and measure opinions on viewing the body of the decedent as part of a service. We also wanted to measure how in-person services, virtual services or not having a service impacts individuals’ experiences.” Continued on page A23