Houston business can launch cremated remains into sky, outer space

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 11:20 PM

HOUSTON -- How would you like to shoot your loved one’s ashes into the sky in a display of fireworks? What about placing the cremated remains in a capsule and sending it off into outer space?

A Houston business is making these options a possibility in a new twist to the funeral industry.

Distinctive Life Cremations and Funerals caters to people looking for non-traditional alternatives to honor the dead.

Founder Jeff Friedman has been a funeral director for 22 years. He says the possibilities have never been so endless.

“A lot of families don’t want the same funeral that Mrs. Jones had because that’s what the funeral home tells them they want,” said founder Jeff Friedman.

Customers who opt to send their loved one to space can choose to have the cremated remains taken to space and returned or placed in orbit.

“A lot of people are shocked they can do space. They kind of laugh about it,” explained Friedman. “The last ship that went up had over 312 sets of cremated remains on board.”

Families who want to send the ashes up with fireworks can choose a variety of colorful displays.

“So when you see it explode, you’re actually scattering the cremated remains at the same time,” said Friedman.

The business just opened a location at 11660 Westheimer, and there are plans to open another location in Sugar Land next week. That makes for a total of five locations in the Houston area and two in Dallas.

Friedman believes his business is thriving because it offers something unique and personalized.

“We’ve not had anybody offended. We’ve had a lot of raised eyebrows, and I’m not sure if that’s good for my family,” said Friedman.

Distinctive Life also sells a variety of themed urns, memory pillows, ornaments and jewelry.

“We take people’s ideas and turn them into reality,” said Leah Delagarza, director of marketing. “It’s a cool feeling when someone comes in and says I wish we could do this, and we say, we can do that.”

The price tag for sending a loved one’s remains to space ranges from $1,200 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A fireworks display starts at $1,500.

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