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May 20, 2009 > A place for eternity

A place for eternity

By Dustin Findley

Cedar Lawn Memorial Park offers many services to the community.

Don Lima, Senior founded the Cedar Lawn facility. He started in San Jose, on Willow Street, and branched out. He started with the cemetery, and the mortuary came along a few years later, and after that the crematory.

The cemetery was established in 1967. In 1982 Lima added the mortuary. It's a total of about 15 acres. The famous landmark in Fremont is the water tower that stood at the base of Mission Peak for many years. The water tower was saved from demolition and relocated in 1982 as a permanent factor.

The water tower has been moved three times. It was on an original ranch of a farmer in Milpitas. At Cedar Lawn people can get up close to the tower. The blades have been taken off of the windmill last year. The tower needs work and structural repair, and then the windmill be put back on top.

It used to be right on the side of the freeway, but the freeway had to expand so "we moved it down into the cemetery" General Manager Karen Carter said.

"We are endowment care cemetery. That means we can only be a cemetery, nothing else. And the endowment care funds are set aside every time you buy a niche for cremated remains or a plot for a grave there's an x number of dollars that are put away in a trust to take care of watering, trimming, the maintenance of a cemetery. So it will always be in operation" Carter said.

A niche is where you put cremated remains. "A mortuary is where the loved one is actually brought into our care and then prepared, whether it be cremation, or embalming, open casket funeral, things out of that nature" Carter continued.

"We would actually do the service here in our facility, or do the service at a church, and have a funeral prior to the burial or cremation" said Carter.

They do all of that on site, including cremation. "We have a witness cremation very small chapel, where you can actually have your small service and then witness the cremation if you would wish. So we consider it full service."

Cedar Lawn literature states that "The spirit of those who pioneered our community lives on through the heritage and service of one of the most peaceful and serene cemeteries in Alameda County."

Cedar Lawn is part of Dignity branding, which is a network of cemeteries, mortuaries, and crematories everywhere.

Through the Dignity brand Cedar Lawn is connected with "3000 other mortuaries and cemeteries and we are world wide." Because of the scope of Dignity branding, "if for some reason a family, say would make arrangements with us ahead of time, and then moved to Southern California, or moved to Arizona, or Texas, or wherever, their arrangements are transferable to wherever they go. So they can take them with them and use them. They have not made an investment that they are going to lose."

Any arrangements, including caskets, type of service, before death, can be paid for and transferred to different locations.

Carter explained "If you do that today and you got 30 more years to live, in 30 years when you use that, there's no price increase...That really is a major savings. Young people should think about that."

Carter thinks it is important to "invite people to get educated about all of the decisions that have to be made when a death occurs." Free brochures and free information is available at the Cedar Lawn office. "The public should take advantage of that."

"I think it's important that a name at least be in a cemetery to show, a hundred years from now that you walked this earth and you contributed to society. So I think cemeteries are very important for memorialization and for history" Carter said.

Significant community services are available for free.

Cedar Lawn has an escape school that is presented by certified presenters for children and their parents to think smart, instead of scared, in an abduction situation or in a problem that comes up with a child. It's a 45-minute presentation.

The children do some interacting, and learn some procedures "to make them feel like they can be in charge of the situation. That's free to the community. We go out to different schools and churches, anybody who would like to have the presentation, they can call us and we can schedule that" said Carter.

Visit for more information.

There is also a program for Smart Living Seniors, where certified people go out and giv a free 45-minute presentation about how to avoid identity theft or how to be safe in your home.

"We serve anywhere in the Bay Area but because of our proximity we are mostly used by people in Milpitas and Fremont" said Elizabeth Rivera of Cedar Lawn.

Cedar Lawn has a relationship with St. John the Baptist Church in Milpitas, and a lot of their families, who utilize Cedar Lawn services.

There will be a special Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 25, with veterans, boy scouts, bands, and hot dog lunch.

Memorial Day Service
Monday, May 25
10 a.m.
Cedar Lawn Memorial Park
48800 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
(510) 656-5565

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