“More than a hygienic method of disposing of the dead, cremation enabled lovers and comrades to be mingled together for eternity”
~ Catharine Arnold
Though considered controversial still, the society has started accepting cremation as a simple, clean, and dignified way of disposing of the dead. It is no longer taken to be impersonal and disrespectful.
In fact, after cremation, a deceased loved one can still be remembered in a meaningful way as there are several options for storing or scattering the ashes.
Furthermore, in ancient times, cremation was practiced in the East as well as West for practical and spiritual reasons.
Here is a list of some celebrities who were cremated rather than buried.
The genius Albert Einstein had expressed his desire to be cremated and then have the ashes scattered. Thus, after his death in 1955, his body was cremated and the cremated remains were scattered in a river.
His brain, however, could not be cremated as Dr. Thomas Harvey, a pathologist had removed the famous physicist’s brain within seven and a half hours of his death for the purpose of scientific study.
The brain was cut into sections for the study and is now considered as an important piece of scientific memorabilia. Most of his brain is now preserved at the University Medical Center in Princeton.
Mark Gruenwald (1953-1996), Marvel Comics editor who died of a fatal heart attack wished to be cremated. He also wanted his ashes to be put into a comic book by mixing them into the ink used for printing one of Marvel’s titles.
The company obliged his request in 1997 and reprinted a 1985 collection of Squadron Supreme with a specially prepared ink that included Gruenwald’s ashes.
In the book’s foreword, his widow Catherine wrote, “He remained true to his passion for comics, as he has truly become one with the story and blended himself in the very fiber of the book.”
Rudyard Kipling, famous English poet, novelist and short-story writer who received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature, was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. His ashes were buried in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, in the Poets’ Corner.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was also cremated at London’s Golders Green Crematorium. His ashes are were transferred in a Grecian-style urn which he had received as a gift from Marie Bonaparte. The urn is stored in the same crematorium’s columbarium.
The lead guitarist for the Beatles, George Harrison (1943-2001) was cremated in a simple ceremony in a crematorium in Los Angeles. As per his final wish, he was cremated soon after his death (within nine hours) and his ashes were scattered over the Ganges, a sacred river in India.
John F. Kennedy JR.
John F. Kennedy JR., who died in a plane crash, was cremated in Mayflower Cemetery crematorium on July 21, 1999. The ashes were given a see burial off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, chose to be cremated rather than buried as she wanted to put to rest alongside her beloved father George VI.
Other famous personalities who were cremated include: