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Eickhof’s new Ossuarium Blends Tradition with Present-Day Disposition in a Modern Way

April 1, 2015

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Eickhof’s new Ossuarium Blends Tradition with Present-Day Disposition in a Modern Way

One of the biggest reasons cremated remains are abandoned, scattered or forgotten about by family members or loved ones is the indecision with what to do with the cremains.

With the cremation rates showing no signs of slowing down, the dilemma for families about how to memorialize a loved one’s cremains is growing too. Many don’t want to scatter because there is no actual memorial. Some may not want to pay for a premium columbarium niche. Cremains displayed in an urn at home can be lost over time and forgotten about.

Families who have cremated loved ones need to be educated on the different options available for final placement of the cremains. Many families may feel their only option is to take the cremains home with them. Then, what happens to the cremains in the future when something happens to whoever is responsible for them?

Now, a solution for these problems has been developed by Eickhof Columbaria of Crookston, Minnesota called, the Ossuarium. Known for its pioneering development of quality columbaria, Eickhof’s new solution for memorialization of cremains is an Ossuarium™, which serves as a traditional above ground columbarium with niches, and an ossuary, which incorporates an underground vault for the placement of Eickhof’s new Satin Urns™.  The ossuary underground vault, which is accessed on the fourth niche on one side only of the Ossuarium, is water tight and leak free. With a concrete pier foundation, the total structure below ground measures approximately 12 and a half feet long, six feet wide and eight and a half feet in depth. Above ground, the Ossuarium has a three and a half square footprint and the final monument is an Obelisk that is 10 feet tall. People who are placed in the Ossuarium vault in an Eickhof Satin Urn, will also be memorialized on the side of the monument by incising into the stone, much like a traditional grave marker or columbarium niche.


This uniquely affordable memorial option has nearly 900 memorial possibilities with the capacity of the ossuary vault underground able to accommodate more than 850 Satin Urns and up to 19 niches above ground in the Obelisk monument.  That number of in-urnment possibilities for cemeteries, religious institutions, retirement communities, universities and funeral homes could give them the boost they need for decades to come.

Ossuaries have been around for centuries…in Europe and the Middle East that is. They are a relatively new concept in the United States but they are becoming more accepted as cremation continues to grow and evolve.  The obelisk form has been recognized throughout history from ancient Egyptian times to the present day Washington Monument. Eickhof has now taken this iconic symbol and combined it with our patented niche system to create the world’s first Obelisk Ossuarium.  The classic look of the obelisk shape can integrate the Ossuarium into any historic location and remain an interesting feature in the landscape with no maintenance required.  The Ossuarium is simple, yet unique. It takes two traditional elements, which have been around the world for centuries, and brings them together to create a new option for memorializing loved ones.

The idea for the Ossuarium was one of those “aha” moments.

“We were in our sales room talking about an ossuary one day and someone said, ‘Hey, we should make our obelisk into an ossuary.’ And it went from there,” Eickhof President and CEO Paul Eickhof said. “The simplicity makes it unique. What else makes it unique is that the obelisk shape is an iconic symbol recognized for centuries worldwide. Incorporating a recognizable symbol helps give the whole idea legs. It’s a much more marketable idea and it’s the whole coincidence that the obelisk, seen in cemeteries worldwide, lends itself perfectly to the Ossuarium concept. It offers tradition and beauty while continuing the same idea in a modern way. It’s a practical monument with a new idea.”

The name “Ossuarium” was a process to come up with.

“The creative flow came up with the Ossuarium name,” Eickhof explained. “I think it happens in all businesses with innovative ideas. We are the cutting edge here and we have been for a long time. I had nothing to do with the name or idea of the Ossuarium. Our creative team of Brent (Thorson) and Stephen (Noyes) came up with the idea.”

The Eickhof brand has become synonymous with quality and innovation over its 30 years in the columbaria industry and the Ossuarium continues that tradition. It’s pre-assembled too, which means the obelisk is delivered in one piece and set on site with a small crane.

“It took me a while to get used to the name,” Eickhof said of Ossuarium. “It has a nice sound to it and it makes sense. I bet it’s a term that catches hold in the industry for any columbarium that has an ossuary in it, anything that combines columbarium niches with a vault underground.”

With the large number of in-urnment options, the Ossuarium, not only benefits families looking for an affordable option to memorialize their loved ones, but memorial professionals, who are looking for new and innovative ways to keep up with today’s industry.

Today, funeral homes are storing far too many ashes for those who do not make a decision for final placement. Cemeteries are looking for new ways to meet today’s demands of cremation memorialization. Universities are looking for new ways to keep alumni connected. The Ossuarium is a new economical alternative to scattering and targets those who don’t know quite what to do with the cremains of a family member. This new option for cremation allows people to have a dignified grave-side service and memorialize their loved ones in a respectable way. Another cremation option like the Ossuarium will hopefully help them see that it is still worth putting their family member in a final resting place.  Maybe their choice will be an Ossuarium?