Forever Yours

Move Over, ALCOR. Phoenix-based Preserve A Life wants to make sure the dearly departed are ready for their close-ups.

When asked about the Hultz freeze-drying, Nancy Keil, manager of the Messinger Indian School Mortuary in Scottsdale, confirmed, "We do have a person in our mausoleum who has been freeze-dried, just like a piece of fruit." She also related that the body was taken out for a viewing a year or two after interment and that "he looked like he did when he was alive." Interestingly, Keil told of having to retrieve a woman's body from ALCOR, which has to be embalmed and then shipped to California. The remains had been kept in one of ALCOR's big steel containers (in liquid nitrogen, presumably). "Her skin was the same color as in life."

Cunningham laughs every time ALCOR's name comes up.

"Can you put Humpty Dumpty back together again? Does anybody really believe that they will ever be revived by medical science? Well, I guess some do," he says. "What we offer is something more unique, and beneficial to the ones who are really affected by a loved one's death -- the people left behind. The dead person doesn't care. He's dead. She's dead. Preserve A Life is the future of mortuary science."

Asked if the rumors are true that PAL and ALCOR might one day work together, since the goals of the firms are entirely different, Cunningham says, "Well, at first ALCOR treated us like we were a bunch of quacks, and that hurt. Crittenden and I have felt the same way about them, but without the name-calling. But, lately, they have been more accepting of us. After all, the Braswells were referred to us by them, and that was a first. There are no current plans for a joint venture, but never say never."

Then, flashing that infectious super-salesman grin, he adds, "Say forever instead!"

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