Architects have specified decorative concrete as centerpieces in many tranquil and calming settings. With this in mind, a new form of decorative concrete is now providing comfort to families of those who die. Searching for ways to meet their customers' needs, concrete burial vault producers have expanded their offerings to help offer a lasting memory at graveside.

Some experts suggest it was Clint Mytych who championed the way the funeral industry is approaching the healing process. He's not bringing a spiritual message to thousands of followers. Rather, he has introduced to grieving the concept of personalization through imagery.

Mytych and his two partners have started a company that provides licensed image caskets and urns. Eternal Image, of Farmington Hills, Mich., is the first and only manufacturer and marketer of licensed brand image funeral products. Their first products, introduced last year, were urns featuring images from The Vatican Library Collection. Earlier this year, they began to offer images from a selection of Major League Baseball teams.

Other products in development include a series of images from the Precious Moments brand for urns and caskets and personalized pet urns featuring images from the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers' Association.

While concrete burial vault producers have always offered highly decorative options to the gray box, personalization is rapidly becoming one of the vault producer's fastest growing market initiatives. Mourners now are comforted with photos, medallions, and inlaid colorings on vaults and lids.

Memorializing

Dealers of the Wilbert brand, reported to be the vault industry's largest group of franchisees, have taken memorializing to a new level. They offer their clients two distinct ways to help with their loss.

They feature the Wilbert Honor Collection and the Eternal Celebration of Life Series lithographs, commemorating those who serve their family, country, or community. The series, featuring portraits by acclaimed artist Ray Simon, is designed to create an enduring tribute to a family's loved one.

Wilbert's Personalization Plus program allows families to personalize a burial vault with a specially chosen image that celebrates their loved one's life. The image is framed and applied to the vault cover for a dignified display at the graveside service.

Wilbert Legacy Custom Series Prints offer families the ultimate in capturing and displaying the essence of their loved one.

Photographs are chosen by the family to create a one-of-a-kind collage. The unique, totally personalized image is then applied to the cover of the vault.

Vault manufacturers that offer the Tirgard system now offer their customers the opportunity to adorn their vaults with an image found in a library of high-quality Aegean appliqués. The appliqué is placed on the top carapace of the vault.

Producers can also offer a personalized topside appliqué a client can choose from a number of stock scenes, personalized photographs, names, or dates. Families can personalize a vault by opting for either a sports, landscape, hobby, military, or religious scene.

Personalization

Doric licensees also offer the opportunity to help create a setting where the image of the casket and burial vault at the cemetery can be a lasting and comforting experience. Through the Doric “Our Choice” Carapace Personalization program, the vault can make a very personal statement.

Doric manufacturers can personalize a burial vault with images from a wide range of personal topics. These include a Defenders of Democracy patriot, feminine, masculine, and religious symbols, professions, signs of natures, and fraternal organizations.

For more information, visitwww.eternalimage.net,www.wilbertonline.com,andwww.doric-vaults.com.