Reynoldsburg News

Medical cadavers

Township cemetery could provide 'dignified burial'


The cremated remains of bodies used for study in Ohio State University's Anatomy Department could be buried in a Silent Home Cemetery crypt, if an agreement can be worked out between Shaw-Davis Funeral Home in Columbus and Truro Township.

A proposal was actually presented to trustees two years ago, but getting a contract finalized has been delayed because of concerns over legal issues, according to Truro Township Roads and Cemetery Director Stan Knoderer.

"The reason for the two-year delay is that we were presented with an initial one-part contract draft that included the placement of cremains (cremated remains) for both deceased members that are wards of the state and for the placement of cremains that were voluntarily surrendered cremains from the families of the deceased," he told trustees two weeks ago.

At one point, trustees requested a good-faith deposit; Knoderer said the funeral home recently provided $15,000 for that purpose.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Columbus office of law firm BakerHostetler, which represents the township. In addition, township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said he wanted to study it because the discussions started before he was hired.

"I'm concerned that we make sure everything is written well within the contract and make sure due diligence is being done," he said. "I do think this could be a great opportunity for the township to provide perpetual long-term care for the cremains."

Knoderer said the placement of cremains that were wards of the state is more legally complicated.

"It is my understanding that a revised and separate agreement will be adopted for their burial," he said.

Knoderer said most cremains from OSU's Anatomy Department are reclaimed by the family of the deceased.

"The terms of the proposed agreement would provide a dignified burial for those cremains that are not voluntarily reclaimed by the families of the deceased," he said.

OSU students gathered last month in an annual memorial service to thank the families of 202 of their "first patients," lighting candles for each donor, reading their names aloud and giving flowers to the family members.

The university keeps the cadavers for up to two years.

Knoderer said he would like to get the situation resolved as soon as possible.

"It puts me in an awkward position when we do not have this contract resolved," he said. "I have a check for additional crypts right now."

He said Shaw-Davis Funeral Home is acting as the intermediate custodian for the transfer of the cremains.

A rough estimate of the long-term income Silent Home Cemetery would derive from the sale of the crypts is $50,000 plus a $10 per cremain opening/closing fee, Knoderer said.

"It would be a long-term income opportunity -- 50 to 100 years into the future for the ongoing project -- and would enable much-needed repairs of the mausoleum and sustain it for years into the future," he said.

Knoderer said OSU and Shaw-Davis chose Silent Home Cemetery, 1576 Lancaster Ave., because its mausoleum, built in 1917, has empty crypts available. The 8.9-acre cemetery was first established in 1880.