Funeral home offers new service – turning loved ones’ ashes into keepsake stones

SALINE, MI – Although Dr. Diana Little died in 2021, she can still be found with loved ones across the country – only now as a different stone.

Little, who practiced obstetrics and gynecology in the Ann Arbor area where she and husband Jim Mulchay lived, died after a long illness, according to her obituary.

After stumbling upon a saline funeral home‘s collaboration with Parting Stone, Mulchay decided to do something else with his wife’s ashes — turn them into stones.

After reaching out to Little’s friends to get their thoughts, he decided to go through with it. He has since shipped these stones to places like Oregon, Colorado, and various cities throughout Michigan.

“If you end up with the ashes, I think (those stones) are more flexible than the ashes,” he said. “If there are members of friends and family who want something tangible — (these stones are) a lot more practical.”

Mulchay walked by the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home, located at 301 E. Michigan Ave. located in saline. The funeral home began a collaboration with Parting Stone earlier this year, giving people the opportunity to use the cremated ashes of their loved ones to create stone-like remains that can be touched and shared with others.

“Our goal was to offer something practical, new and different to give families another way to keep in touch with loved ones after they have passed,” said Steve Robison, owner and director of the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home .

Parting Stone, a New Mexico-based start-up, uses a person’s ashes to create about 40 to 60 stones of various sizes. The company can transform the corpses of someone who has died recently or in the past.

The color of the stones are all naturally made and most stones are usually white. However, some stones may be blue, green, or some other color.

Robison said Parting Stone allows family members to “physically connect” with their dead loved ones in a way Ash doesn’t allow. These stones can be placed in a garden, in a body of water, or in a person’s favorite spot.

He has had several people come to the funeral home who are pursuing this option.

April Campbell, one of Little’s friends, decided to take her rock and put it in her garden. Campbell painted the stone with Little’s name and a hummingbird – symbolizing how they would bond over their love of birds.

Campbell said the stone sits in the memorial area of ​​her garden, where she remembers her other past loves. She said Little’s stone rests among her flowers and where she sees birds flying.

“I don’t need the stones to keep in touch with her,” Campbell said. “But it really gives me a giggle and a warm feeling when I walk out the front door and see the stone with her name on it.”

This was Campbell’s first hearing of Parting Stone, but she said she is now considering using the service for her pet’s ashes in the future.

While Mulchay said he’s not “great in recommending” what people should do, he wants people to know that Parting Stone is an option now.

“I’m not saying it’s better or worse than anything,” he said. “It worked for me and I don’t think my wife would be unhappy with the result.”

If families want to remember their loved ones in other ways, the funeral home also offers people the option of using their ashes to help grow a tree.

The funeral home’s collaboration with The Living Urn, a Colorado-based company, allows families to choose from 20 different tree options to grow in the area.

Robison said most people choose to turn someone’s cremains into trees, but the company has more options to choose from, like flowers or other plants.

Read more from the Ann Arbor News:

Ann Arbor’s Chapin Street has been removed from the list of streets to be repaved this year

The Chelsea District Library aims to improve accessibility with a mobile unit

Have tea with a sloth at The Creature Conservancy’s new event

About Cindy Johnson

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