LaGrange family turns their childhood home into an eternal one

LaGrange Bureau

LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – Whispering Hills Memorial Nature Preserve in LaGrange has been in the Howard family for over 80 years. Over the last three years, co-owner Ralph Howard has decided to turn his childhood home into a preservation and a natural green cemetery.

Ralph Howard came up with a unique idea to preserve the land and keep it in the family. He and his sister, co-owner Jean Howard, decided to begin an eco-friendly, natural green cemetery and the pair have been working on this project for about three years now.

“It gives me peace of mind you know, I just feel like it’ll be such a peaceful place to be you know, back to nature, from nature, here we are and back to nature when we die,” said Jean Howard.

The preserve sits on 145 acres of land and the natural green cemetery is on about 20 of those acres.

Along with the cemetery, the preserve features horse riding trails, streamside benches and bird watching stations.

The Howards’ cousin, Jeannette Little, says it gives her a sense of peace to know she’ll be laid to rest one day where she grew up as a child. 

“Of course with it being here in LaGrange where I’ve lived for 66 plus years, I like it being here and I like it being on the farm land that I visited and played on as a child,” said Little, the former State Court Judge in Troup County.

None of the graves on the site will have headstones but instead natural stones that can be engraved. Everyone buried on the site must be buried in fabric shrouds or biodegradable containers.

“Of course we all want to be healthy and live forever, none of us want to go. As long as we’re healthy and viable and have a good quality of life, there comes a time, none of us get out of this life alive of course,” said Ralph Howard.

The preserve offers families more affordable ways to lay their loved ones to rest and stems outside of traditional funerals and cemeteries.

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