As few as 10 years ago, most people in Mingo and surrounding counties had certain ideas and even more definite plans regarding their final arrangements.
In fact, about only 5 percent of the local population was choosing cremation as an alternative means of “going on to their reward” over the far more traditional burial option, while the national average was much higher and now stands at nearly 70 percent.
Of the few area residents who did choose cremation over burial, it necessitated the remains being taken to a Charleston funeral home and having the service completed there.
For various reasons the trend here appears to be changing, however, with currently about 20 percent of Mingo and adjacent area residents choosing cremation over burial.
This was principle reason why the owner of Chafin Funeral Home decided the time had come to for him make the Delbarton funeral home the first ever in Mingo County to add a crematorium to its standard burial service.
“At 30 percent, West Virginia as a whole has one of the lowest cremation percentages in the country, but with Mingo County now at 20 percent, we felt we still had room to grow,” said current CFH owner Steven Cook.
“Cremation was, and to some extent, still is a taboo subject for many people to even talk about, much less actually use for themselves or a family member, but now it’s becoming mainstream.”
Cook said one of the primary reasons more individuals and families are opting for cremation—particularly these days in light of the local economic downturn—is its affordability.
“We truly understand that not too many people have a great deal of money, especially in our current economy,” he said.
“Just a few days ago we had a family come in that really couldn’t afford a regular funeral, but with the help of some other family members they were able to put together enough money for a cremation.
“So I think what you’re beginning to see is more and more funeral homes really trying to meet the financial needs of families with different options and pricing.”
Cook said the crematorium has been operational for about two months and that other area funeral homes have already begun utilizing Chafin Funeral Home for their cremation needs, versus traveling 30 additional miles to Logan County and using the crematorium of a funeral home there.
“Prior to our opening, the only option we had was the funeral home in Chapmanville, but now we and all the surrounding funeral homes can stay closer to home because we do everything onsite, which makes it much better for our families,” he said.
Chafin Funeral Home was established in 1957 by Cook’s grandfather, Gerald Chafin, who remained owner until 2002 when he sold the business to Cook and his father, John Stephen Cook, who passed away in 2018.
Steven’s brother, James, joined the funeral home in 2000, with his son, Jordan, additionally joining the staff in 2013.
As a way to formally commemorate the addition of the crematorium, Cook said the funeral home will be running both cremation and burial pre-needs specials for the next 90 days.
“These are tough times and we really understand that…it’s very hard for some families to come up with the money for a funeral,” he said.
“But we want our families to know that we’re ready and willing to work with them, in any way we can, to help them meet their needs.”
Cook said the funeral home is also currently stocked with an array of urns of all styles, including keepsake urns and jewelry.
For additional information, call the funeral home at, (304) 475-2071.