FAQ

Frequently Asked questions

Cemetery

What do I do if a family member or loved one has died or is terminally ill?

To make immediate arrangements for a loved one, contact the Newton Cemetery office at 617-332-0047. We will guide you through the process, whether you already have a cemetery space or need to purchase one, and can help plan a cremation or chapel service. Newton Cemetery will also work closely with your funeral home to coordinate the details of the service. If you do not have a funeral home, please refer to the list of area funeral homes.

Why is advance planning important?

Advance planning, or pre-arrangement, is important because it allows unpressured time to carefully consider the many options and plan the details of your service. You will have peace of mind knowing your wishes will be observed, giving your family and friends the time to focus on supporting each other through the grieving process. All spaces in Newton Cemetery are available for pre-purchase. Our staff is available to meet with you, give you a tour of our facilities and explain all you need to know about pre-purchasing your cemetery space. Please call the office at 617-332-0047 to schedule an appointment. In conjunction with purchasing a cemetery space, we recommended you contact a funeral home or attorney (or both) to plan all the details of your pre-need funeral arrangements.

Is there space left at Newton Cemetery?

Yes! There will be availability for many years to come, but it is best to pre-purchase your space if you know you would like to be interred at Newton Cemetery. It is difficult to predict exactly when all interment space will be sold, or what the selection will be at a future point in time.

Do I need to be a Newton resident to purchase interment space at Newton Cemetery?

No, you do not need to be a Newton resident to purchase a space. Newton Cemetery serves the needs of the Boston area and beyond, as well as all faiths.

Why do I need a cemetery?

It is important to remember those who have passed in a permanent resting place. In a cemetery, the remains will always be protected in a sacred place and remembered with dignity and respect. Information about the deceased will be kept permanently in cemetery records. A cemetery provides a link with our past.

Who owns and operates Newton Cemetery?

Newton Cemetery is a private, non-profit corporation established by the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and governed by a Board of elected Trustees. Many people think Newton Cemetery is owned by the City of Newton, but it is not.

How much does it cost?

Cemetery expenses are one part of the overall funeral expense. Cemetery costs vary, but can be broken down into the following categories: 

Interment Space This is the cost to purchase the Right of Interment in a designated space within the cemetery.  The cost varies depending on the interment location in the cemetery and size of the space.  Interment space can be purchased at the time of need or pre-purchased.  Please visit the Interment page for more detailed price information.

Professional Services are the cemetery services provided at the time of need. These fees may include opening and preparing a space for interment, providing and installing casket containers, cremation costs and recordkeeping.  Please refer to the price schedule for current service fees.

Memorialization is the cost of the headstone, marker or engraving.  Headstones and markers are purchased from a monument company while the foundation and setting are done by Newton Cemetery.  The foundation and setting cost depends on the size of the monument. Please refer to the price schedule for more information. Engraving on an existing headstone is arranged through a monument company. Engraving of a niche or crypt front is done through Newton Cemetery and the cost is based on the number of characters engraved. 

Holiday Placements, Lot and Memorial Care are additional, optional items that can be purchased through Newton Cemetery after an interment. Visit our store to see items available for purchase.

What interment options are available?

There is a wide variety of interment options at Newton Cemetery. From one of the beautiful scattering gardens or an indoor niche for cremated remains to single graves on a hill or large lots designed for a private family mausoleum, there is something to fit every need and price point. Read more about the various options or use our interactive sales map to view available areas. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at 617-332-0047.

Does the cemetery have an endowment?

Yes. Newton Cemetery currently transfers 30% of the purchase price of each interment space into the endowment fund. The endowment is a perpetual care fund used for the long-term maintenance and repair of the Cemetery’s grounds and equipment. The Board of Trustees has developed an Investment Policy for the fund, which is professionally managed by BNY Mellon.

Is there an annual audit of the finances of Newton Cemetery?

Yes. An annual audit is conducted by an independent accounting firm appointed by the Board of Trustees. A copy of that information is available for public examination on-line.

What am I buying when I purchase a cemetery space?

When purchasing cemetery space, the Rights for Interment are being purchased. The Right for Interment (or Interment Right) is the burial entitlement for a specific location within the cemetery. When purchasing a cemetery space, the right to use the cemetery space is being purchased. The grave, lot, niche, or crypt remains the property of Newton Cemetery.

How many people are interred at Newton Cemetery? How many services and cremations are performed each year?

The remains of more than 40,000 are at Newton Cemetery. The Burial Search can be used to find the location of someone. On average, about 300-350 interment services and 1,000 cremations are performed each year by the caring and professional staff at Newton Cemetery.

What is the cemetery’s, and my own, obligation for maintenance?

Newton Cemetery’s Regular Perpetual Care is included in the purchase price of all interment locations throughout the cemetery. Regular Perpetual Care includes the maintenance of grass and upkeep of the cemetery grounds and its buildings. Special Perpetual Care may be purchased in addition to Regular Perpetual Care. It may include special or particular kinds of planting, decoration or monument care. Special Perpetual Care contracts are arranged through the cemetery office.

Families are not obligated to perform any maintenance or required to pay ongoing fees for the Regular Perpetual Care of their space.

Can pets be buried at Newton Cemetery?

Pets may not be interred (or cremated) at Newton Cemetery.

What if I change my mind about my purchase?

If you change your mind about the purchase of a cemetery space, there is an option to transfer the purchase to someone else or back to Newton Cemetery. An administrative fee and certain restrictions will apply. In general, a space can be transferred back to the cemetery by the owner for the original purchase price as long as there are no interments. Please contact the office at 617-332-0047 for more details or assistance.

What decorations can be left at a grave? May we plant flowers, shrubs or trees at our lot?

Fresh cut flowers or potted plants may be placed at graves. Artificial decorations of natural materials such as dried, straw or silk flowers are permitted in lieu of fresh cut flowers or potted plants from October 1st through March 31st. Plastic decorations are prohibited.

Glass, china or tin can containers and vigil lights are prohibited. Balloons, boxes, shelves, toys, metal designs, ornaments, wood or iron planters, or other similar articles may not be placed at graves. Decorations may be removed by Cemetery staff when they become unsightly or harmful to the grass or memorials.

There are three dates when ALL items are removed: approximately two weeks after Christmas, two weeks after Easter and two weeks after Memorial Day. Items will be removed throughout the day on these clean-up dates. The exact dates will be posted on the cemetery grounds, on our website under News & Events, or you can join our email list to be notified. Artificial decorations will be removed April 1st through September 30th.

Planting in the ground is by Cemetery staff only. Information about planting options can be found on the Floral Tributes and Lot Care page.

What kind of record keeping system does the cemetery maintain?

Since 1855, there have been more than 40,000 interments at Newton Cemetery. The ability to keep accurate, meticulous records over many decades is very important. Newton Cemetery utilizes a software system that allows for digital storage of records. Paper records, such as original hand-drawn maps, deeds and certificates, are archived in a fire safe vault.

Is there security at Newton Cemetery?

Newton Cemetery has staff monitoring the grounds in a marked vehicle while the grounds are open.

What is available for Veterans? 

The City of Newton owns three veterans’ Lots in Newton Cemetery and one is open for new burials. Professional service fees as described above apply to all burials in Newton Cemetery, including those of veterans. Other interment options are available for those eligible at the Massachusetts National Cemetery or one of the state veterans’ cemeteries located in Winchendon and Agawam, Massachusetts. Contact the City of Newton Veteran's Affairs Office for more information on who is eligible to use space in the Newton Cemetery Veterans’ Lot or the veterans’ cemeteries located in Massachusetts, and to find out what financial assistance may be available to help defray costs.

My monument is dirty. How can it be cleaned?

There are a couple of choices. You could clean the monument yourself or you could have the work done professionally by Newton Cemetery. For more information on having your monument cleaned, or to receive a quote, please call the office at 617-332-0047 or follow this link. If you decide to clean the monument yourself, Newton Cemetery recommends using a soft-bristled brush and plain water to gently clean your monument. Avoid using any abrasive materials, detergent or bleach, as this could damage the monument.

 

Cremation

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to ashes using high heat and flame. Cremation is not a final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.

Is cremation less expensive than burial?

In most cases cremation is less expensive than burial. The interment space required for cremation is less than required for full casket, and does not require a burial vault or other outside container. Cremation fees are typically less expensive than cemetery grave opening fees.

Should I use a Funeral Director for the process?

Newton Cemetery recommends contacting a Funeral Director to assist with the cremation process. A funeral service professional can obtain all the necessary permits and provide transportation to the crematory from wherever the death has occurred. A professional will also assist with planning a service. Funeral Directors are trained to provide guidance with understanding and consideration.

Can The Family Witness The Cremation?

Yes. At Newton Cemetery, family members can be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber.

Do I Need An Urn?

An urn is not required. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not provided, the cremated remains will be returned in an attractively packaged container. A limited selection of permanent urns is available for purchase at Newton Cemetery. Please call the office at 617-332-0047 to inquire.

Does cremation rule out a traditional funeral?

No. A funeral is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the healing process. Funerals should be customized to the individual, and serve as a way to celebrate their life and bring together their friends and family.

Should arrangements for cremation be made in advance?

Having a plan and sharing it with loved ones helps spare family and friends from making difficult decisions at a time of grieving.  Making arrangements for a funeral ceremony, interment or cremation on a “pre-need” basis and making your wishes known to a funeral service professional is one of the most thoughtful ways you can help those left behind.  Arrangements are as individual as the persons for whom and by whom they are made.  A ceremony may be personalized to reflect the life of the deceased—and therefore have special meaning for those who are left behind.

Is a casket required for cremation?

No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required is an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body.

Can ashes be scattered anywhere? Are most cremated remains scattered?

The scattering of remains should be done in accordance with state and local laws and the wishes of the deceased. While many people choose to scatter remains, many choose a permanent location. Newton Cemetery offers a variety of scattering areas. Choosing a cemetery provides for a permanent resting place where the deceased’s information will be kept in the cemetery records. Those who want to remember will have a place to go to celebrate the life of their loved one.