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Frequently Asked Questions

Quick-jump FAQ:

 Funeral & Burial Questions

What purpose does a funeral serve?

It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.

Why have a public viewing?

Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of communicable diseases?

Yes, A person who dies of a communicable disease is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-communicable disease related deaths.

What is the most common disposition of the body?

The most commonly selected funeral service is an earth burial and accounts for 57% of all deaths.

What is a Disposition?

Final disposition means the entombment, burial in a cemetery or cremation of a dead human body.

Isn't burial space becoming scarce?

While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 200 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.

What are some funeral service options?

  • Visitation the day of the service: Body present in a casket, church service same day, earth burial
  • Visitation the day before or day of the service: Body present in casket, church service, cremation, burial or scattering at a later date
  • Cremation, visitation, church service or memorial, burial/scatter/retain cremated remains
  • Cremation, memorial service at the funeral home, burial/scatter/retain cremated remains
  • Cremation, burial/scatter/retain cremated remains
  • Immediate burial
  • Direct cremation without services
  • Funeral services with forwarding the decedent out to another state or country for burial in a cemetery
  • Direct forwarding to another state or country for burial in a cemetery

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 Embalming Questions

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Does a body have to be embalmed, according to Washington State Law?

Common carrier regulations usually require embalming as a condition for the transportation of a deceased person. You should also check the embalming laws and regulations of other states if the deceased is to be transported outside of Washington. If embalming is desired the amount of time that elapses between death and embalming can make a difference in the personal appearance of the body. Permission for embalming should be granted as soon as possible for best results.

WAC 246-500-030

Refrigeration or embalming of human remains.

(1) Funeral directors, embalmers, and others assisting in the preparation of human remains for final disposition must refrigerate or embalm the remains upon receipt.

(2) Funeral directors, embalmers, and others assisting in the preparation of human remains for final disposition may delay refrigeration upon receipt or remove human remains from refrigeration for the following activities:
(a) Embalming;
(b) Transporting;
(c) Cremating or burying;
(d) Viewing for identification for a period of time not to exceed one hour by a person able to identify the deceased;
(e) Washing, anointing, clothing, praying over, reading to, singing to, sitting with, guarding, viewing, or otherwise accompanying the deceased for a period of time not to exceed twenty-four hours by persons acting according to the directions of the deceased or the person having the right to control the disposition of the remains under RCW 68.50.160, provided that anyone directly touching the remains uses barrier precautions according to requirements under WAC 246-500-020 (1)(b); or
(f) As otherwise approved by the local health officer after evaluating specific circumstances, the need to protect public health, and recognition of religious beliefs.

(3) A funeral director, embalmer, or other person assisting in the preparation of human remains for final disposition must prohibit activities otherwise allowed under subsection (2)(e) of this section if informed by a local health officer or medical examiner that such activities would pose a direct threat to human health.

(4) Nothing in this section restricts the authority of a coroner or medical examiner when human remains are under his or her jurisdiction in accordance with RCW 68.50.010.

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 What to do if a Death Occurs

What should I do if the death occurs at a residence or home?

Depending on the circumstances that caused the death the family may need to call 911. If the death occurs under hospice care, and in Kitsap County, the Coroner will need to be notified, then the Lewis Funeral Chapel or "The Stone Chapel” Poulsbo Mortuary will need to be called by the family or hospice nurse. Our staff is available 24 hours a day including holidays to assist as needed.

What should I do if the death occurs at a hospital or a nursing home?

Let the nursing staff know that you have selected Lewis Funeral Chapel or "The Stone Chapel” Poulsbo Mortuary should the death occur under facility care. With this information provided to the nursing staff, they can how call the Lewis Funeral Chapel or "The Stone Chapel” Poulsbo Mortuary anytime 24 hours a day.

Will someone come right away?

In most cases our staff is available for immediate assistance. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye, our staff is able to stand by.

If a loved one dies out of state, can Lewis Funeral Chapel or "The Stone Chapel" Poulsbo Mortuary still help?

Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state to Lewis Funeral Chapel and "The Stone Chapel" Poulsbo Mortuary. Generally it's much less expensive if we make the arrangements with a reputable funeral home.

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 Terms That May Be Unfamiliar


to bury human remains underground.


burial grounds for human remains.


arrangement of niches in a building or a room, for the display of urns containing cremated remains.

Cremated Remains

the human remains after cremation.

Cremation Vault

container for holding an urn.


a space capable of holding a casket:

Lawn Crypt

preconstructed, preburial vault in the ground capable of holding a casket.

Companion Lawn Crypt

reconstructed, preburied vault in the ground capable of holding two or more caskets.

Mausoleum Crypt

space in a mausoleum (building) capable of holding a casket.

Endowment Care

a trust fund established to provide for permanent upkeep and care of the cemetery buildings and grounds.


the placement of casketed human remains in a crypt.


a space of land designated for the burial of human remains (also considered lawn space).


the disposition of human remains by burial or entombment.


placing cremated remains in an urn and the urn in a niche or cremation vault.


a permanent building above ground or partially above ground for interment of human remains.


a headstone, monument, marker, nameplate or inscription identifying the human remains or cremated remains (also called memorialization).

Companion Memorial

a memorial for two or more individuals.


a space capable of holding cremated remains.

Lawn Niche

space in an urn garden designated for the burial of cremated remains below ground.

Companion Lawn Niche

a space in an urn garden designated for the burial of two cremated remains below ground.

Mausoleum Niche

a space in a mausoleum capable of holding cremated remains above ground.

Opening and Closing

the preparation of the grave, space, crypt or niche to receive the human remains or cremated remains and the sealing of the grave, space, crypt or niche after interment.


two or more adjoining graves, crypts, or niches.


the scattering of cremated remains in a designated area.


a receptacle into which cremated remains are placed.


a receptacle for the placement of flowers on a grave, crypt, or niche.


enclosed container used for the burial of a casket.

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 Cremation Questions

Please View our Frequently Asked Questions about Cremation.


Bremerton, WA: Lewis Funeral Chapel, 360-377-3836 / Forest Lawn Cemetery: 360-373-3132

Poulsbo, WA: The Stone Chapel (Poulsbo Mortuary), 360-779-4474  /  Cherry Grove Memorial Park, 360-779-4474
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