Selecting a Cemetery Memorial

By Shannon Duff
2013 O.P.P Senior Safety Guide Book

Selecting a Cemetery Memorial

For those who have lost a loved one, choosing a cemetery memorial is more than just picking out a stone.

It's about creating a long-standing, personal symbol reflecting and celebrating a cherished life.

It's a process that begins from the ground up, explains John-Michael Weber, president of Superior Memorials in Harriston, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph.

"When people come in to see us, it's all about personalization and design," he said. "We have a design team to work with each family. When the family stands at the foot of that monument . . . [it should] tell a story and represent that individual."

The Ontario Monument Builders Association highly recommends consulting a monument builder for several reasons:

- Purchasing a memorial is a major investment of time and money and should be undertaken with great thought and care. The Ontario Monument Builders Association recommends careful and relaxed planning when purchasing a memorial.

- Whether you are making pre-arranged or immediate arrangements for a funeral, or purchasing cemetery property, you should know that you and your family are not obligated to purchase a monument from a funeral home or a cemetery. In fact, a good argument can be made to delay the purchase of a memorial, the one visual lasting tribute, until other matters are complete.

- Visit a permanent showroom to see the different styles of monuments or markers. If you are unable to visit a showroom, discuss your needs with the monument builder.

- Monument builders will help you to design a memorial and then complete all that is required to produce the memorial from inscription to installation. Other products such as bronze remembrance lamps, bronze vases, floral attachments, religious items and even reproduction photos are available to incorporate into your tribute.

- Your wishes and a monument builder's suggestions will combine to help you decide on the appropriate text, floral, epitaphs and meaningful symbols for your memorial. Most monument builders will prepare drawings and rubbings, or have you review a completed stencil to help you visualize the finished memorial as well as to check for any possible errors before the final work is completed on the stone.

Each monument takes several months to create, explained Weber, and he encourages people to wait until they feel emotionally and mentally prepared to consider purchasing a memorial. He also said it's worthwhile considering purchasing a monument ahead of time.

"That person can choose what they want to choose," he said. "It can actually be a relief and make things easier for the family."

Superior Memorials staff treat each monument as a unique representation, selecting grade A granite to withstand the local climate, sandblasting and polishing to create an exceptional finished product, aiding and listening to customers with design ideas and more.

For its outstanding design services, Superior Memorials has won several awards, including two first-place design awards in recent years from the American Institute of Commemorative Art - an invite-only institution.

For more information on Superior Memorials, call 519-745-6136 or visit