Funeral Industry News

Northeast Iowa Monks Supply Casket for Arizona Victim

January 13, 2011

Northeast Iowa Monks Supply Casket for Arizona Victim

imageA victim of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz., will be buried in a casket made from red oak trees by monks in northeast Iowa.

Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest of six victims gunned down in the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be buried in a coffin built by Trappist Caskets of Peosta, Ia., near Dubuque.

The Roman Catholic monks of the New Melleray Abbey in northeast Iowa have become renowned for their handmade caskets over the past decade and routinely donate children’s caskets.

Sam Mulgrew, general manager of Trappist Caskets, said the monks initially were contacted Tuesday morning by a family representative who was a previous customer.

“He prefers to remain anonymous,” Mulgrew said Wednesday.

Final arrangements were made with the funeral director in Tucson. By the end of the day Tuesday, the casket – engraved with Christina’s name as well as her dates of birth (Sept. 11, 2001) and death – was shipped via FedEx from the abbey to Tucson. (Caskets of various sizes and in different stages of completion are kept on hand.) Her funeral is scheduled for today.

The monks also shipped special keepsake crosses for the girl’s family, engraved with Christina’s name.

“In the springtime, we’ll plant a red oak in her honor,” Mulgrew added.

Each recipient of a Trappist Casket receives a memorial tree planting. The monks plant about 2,000 memorial trees each year, just a portion of the thousands of trees planted to keep their forest sustainable as a source of wood for their caskets.