FRAZER, Pa. -- "As a non-sectarian cemetery, we welcome everyone," said Eric Miller, Manager of Family Services at Philadelphia Memorial Park. "Our doors are open to all faiths, all backgrounds with options for folks that want to think traditional or think outside the grave, as we call it."
When Miller said, "everyone," he also meant pets. The cemetery already had a specific area designated for furry friends. But recently, it introduced the Saint Francis section where individuals can be buried alongside their pets.
"I'm so happy that we can do that because I'm giving thought to that as well for my favorite furry friend," said Elaine Jones, a Family Service Counselor who has worked with the cemetery for 26 years.
For Jones, Philadelphia Memorial Park is a special place where she can connect with family members across the area. An institution since 1929, the cemetery hosts various events for the community, such as fundraisers for local charities.
But Jones says one of the most important roles it plays is to help families make their final arrangements in advance.
"Everyone, I believe, should plan ahead with their own special wishes," she said, "so that no family walks through our doors unprepared on the worst day of their life, losing a loved one."
The cemetery offers various other forms of final resting places such as a mausoleum, veterans' section, community columbarium for cremated remains, and more.
Since the 1950s, it has been home to the individuals from four Philadelphia cemeteries that were either closed or sold.
And every new addition to the cemetery contributes to its perpetual preservation.
"When this cemetery fills up, there's a fund set aside specifically just to care for the maintenance of the cemetery, the upkeep," said Miller, "To keep it as beautiful as it is today and maybe even better going into the future for generations to come."
To learn more about Philadelphia Memorial Park, visit their website.