How to Choose a Cemetery

Published On: March 22nd, 2024

Choosing the right cemetery can be a daunting task. Whether you’re making arrangements for a loved one or pre-planning for yourself, the options can seem overwhelming. In this article, I’ll help you understand how cemeteries can differ. We’ll discuss some of the things everyone should be on the lookout for, and some of the things that you might never think to ask. For full disclosure, I should tell you that I manage Ridge Hill Memorial Park in Amherst, Ohio. I think it’s the best cemetery around, but you shouldn’t take my word for it. I’ll give you the facts about Ridge Hill and other local cemeteries in this article, and I encourage you to check us out for yourself. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

First, you need to know what the different types of cemeteries are. There are four main types that you’ll encounter. First, you’ll find plenty of city and township cemeteries. These are public and are operated by local government. They are dependent on tax revenue and government budgets in order to operate. The sad fact is, as with many other government entities, these cemeteries are chronically understaffed and underfunded. Maintenance and upkeep can be difficult for them, and there are usually no staff present on site to assist visitors. On the other hand, their prices are typically low. If your main goal is to find the cheapest option, city and township cemeteries can seem attractive. But as you’ll see as this article continues, there are other options that offer much better value for comparable prices.

Next we’ll talk about for-profit cemeteries. The most prominent of these locally is in Avon, Ohio. That cemetery, and cemeteries like it, are owned by large national corporations. These corporations buy up cemeteries and funeral homes by the hundreds. As the term for-profit suggests, they are in the business of making money (their shareholders demand it). You may have seen the movie The Burial, and if so you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, check it out! Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Fox, you can’t go wrong. I encourage anyone considering a for-profit cemetery to take a walking tour of the grounds before finalizing anything. They are by far the most expensive option when it comes to cemeteries, but you often wouldn’t know it by their state of repair. That’s because the money spent at these cemeteries doesn’t stay there; it gets sent back to a corporate headquarters to be portioned out by executive officers and lawyers who are looking at the bottom line. Don’t take my word for it, read what their actual clients are saying. Check out the Google reviews of any cemetery to learn what the community thinks of them.

The third type of cemetery you’ll encounter are those owned and operated by religious organizations. These cemeteries can be a great option if you’re a member of that particular faith. They’re often well maintained and well-funded, with full-time staff on site to assist visitors. However, often there are more and different rules at these cemeteries as compared to non-sectarian locations. If you’re considering a religious cemetery, be sure you understand all of their rules and regulations up-front and be sure these won’t cause any issues for you or your loved ones down the road. Especially if you have family members of different faiths.

Now for what I consider the best type of cemetery, the private and non-profit. Ridge Hill Memorial Park in Amherst, Ohio is an example of this type of cemetery. In fact, it’s the only example I know of. Remember when you were a kid, and you visited your favorite locally owned shop? The staff knew your name and genuinely wanted to help you, and the inventory was high quality and reasonably priced. They didn’t exist to squeeze every cent out of you, but rather to be a lasting and valuable part of the community. Ridge Hill Memorial Park is the cemetery version of that. We’re here to help you find what’s right for you when it comes to cemetery options. We help you achieve everything you want and need, and nothing you don’t. When you need to get in touch with us there’s no 1-800 number to call, no waiting on hold for an hour to get to customer service. Whether you want to talk to one of our Family Service Counselors about pre-planning or you want to talk to our President about a concern, we all have 440 area codes and we’re all available to speak with you. We don’t have shareholders or a CEO, we have a Board of Directors who are democratically elected from amongst our lot owners. The members of the Board do not draw any salary from the cemetery. That means that the cemetery is operated by folks who truly have the best interests of the cemetery at heart, not their own bank accounts. Every dime that is spent with Ridge Hill Memorial Park stays with Ridge Hill Memorial Park for the successful operation, future care, and maintenance thereof. We encourage our clients to compare our prices with other cemeteries because we know that we offer the best options and the best value. Isn’t that what you and your loved ones want and deserve?

If you’re interested in cemetery pre-planning, you need to make arrangements for a loved one, or you just want to learn more, please contact me directly. My name is Gavin Baker, I’m the manager at Ridge Hill Memorial Park. We can meet at the cemetery office, or have a conversation over a cup of coffee at Sandstone on Park Ave. (I’m an Amherst resident, got to support the local businesses!). I wrote this article and I stand by it; I’ll back up everything I’ve said here with full transparency. Give me a call at 440-233-5113, email me at, or visit my office at 44805 N. Ridge Rd. in Amherst. You can also find Ridge Hill Memorial Park on Facebook and Google. I look forward to serving you!

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