Title:
Headstone assembly and method for lawn crypt
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A headstone assembly for a lawn crypt has a headstone holder with a cavity of rectangular cross-section shaped and dimensioned to receive the lower end of a headstone, a headstone with a lower end portion for engagement in the cavity and an upper end portion projecting upwardly out of the cavity, and a separate headstone base member or collar with a flat lower surface for engaging the ground above a buried lawn crypt and a rectangular opening of predetermined dimensions for engaging over the headstone. After an interment, the opening in the base member can be engaged over the headstone, and the base member can slide down over the headstone until the lower surface of the base member engages the ground to form a flat base member surrounding the base of the headstone, providing an additional surface for informational or ornamental indicia and for supporting containers such as flower vases.



Inventors:
Sannipoli Sr., Alfred L. (Temecula, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/013670
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
12/15/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H13/00; E01F9/011
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON & REES LLP (SAN DIEGO, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A headstone assembly for a lawn crypt, comprising: a headstone holder box having a lower closed end for securing to a lawn crypt and an open upper end, the box having a cavity of rectangular cross-section shaped and dimensioned to receive the lower end of a headstone; a generally rectangular headstone having a lower end portion for engagement in the cavity with an upper end portion projecting upwardly out of the cavity; and a separate headstone base member having a flat lower surface for engaging the ground above a buried lawn crypt and a rectangular opening of predetermined dimensions for engaging over the headstone after the headstone has been installed in the holder box; whereby the base member can slide down over the headstone until the lower surface of the base member engages the ground to form a flat base member surrounding the headstone.

2. The assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the base member has a rectangular periphery.

3. The assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the base member has a circular periphery.

4. The assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the base member has at least one circular opening for receiving a container.

5. The assembly as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a temporary removable cap for placing over the open end of the headstone holder box prior to engagement of a headstone in the holder box.

6. A burial method for a lawn crypt, comprising the steps of: installing a crypt having a removable lid in an excavated hole in the ground at a predetermined level below the ground level, the removable lid having a head end and a foot end, and an upwardly directed headstone holder projecting upwardly from the lid at a location adjacent the head end of the lid, the headstone holder having an upwardly facing, rectangular cavity; re-filling the hole with soil above the crypt; at the time of the first interment, excavating the soil above the crypt to expose the crypt lid; removing the crypt lid; inserting a casket into the crypt and subsequently replacing the lid; inserting the lower end of a headstone into the cavity in the headstone holder so that an upper end portion of the headstone projects above the ground level; filling the cavity around the headstone with a filler material; re-filling the hole to the ground level to cover the lid and headstone holder; and engaging a rectangular opening in a base member over the upper end portion of the headstone, and sliding the base member downwardly over the headstone until the base member rests on the ground to provide a horizontal surface surrounding the headstone.

7. The method as claimed in claim 6, further comprising the step of covering the open upper end of the headstone holder with a cap until the time of the first interment.

8. The method as claimed in claim 6, further comprising the step of filling the gap between the headstone and opening in the base member with a filler material.

9. The method as claimed in claim 6, wherein the crypt is a double depth crypt with two burial chambers, further comprising the following steps at the time of the second interment: sliding the base member up over the headstone for removal; removing the headstone from the headstone holder box; excavating the ground above the crypt lid to expose the lid; removing the crypt lid to allow the second casket to be placed in the upper chamber of the crypt; replacing the lid over the crypt; replacing the headstone in the headstone holder box; re-filling the hole above the crypt lid to ground level; and re-engaging the hole in the base member over the headstone and sliding the base member down over the headstone until it is seated on the ground.

10. The method as claimed in claim 9, further comprising the steps of placing a cap over the open end of the headstone holder box after removing the headstone at the time of the second interment, and removing the cap prior to replacing the headstone in the headstone holder box.

11. A lawn crypt installation, comprising: a burial vault having a removable lid having an upper face, the burial vault being installed in a hole in the ground; a headstone holder projecting upwardly from the upper face of the lid adjacent one end of the lid; the headstone holder having an upwardly extending, rectangular cavity of cross-sectional shape substantially matching the cross-sectional shape of a headstone and cross-sectional dimensions larger than the cross-sectional dimensions of a headstone, the cavity having an open upper end; a headstone of generally rectangular cross-section having a lower end portion engaged in said rectangular cavity and an upper portion projecting upwardly out of said cavity; a filler material covering the hole in the ground over the lid up to ground level, whereby the headstone projects upwardly out of the ground; and a base member having a rectangular opening engaged over the headstone and a flat lower face resting on the ground surrounding the headstone, the base member having at least one circular opening spaced from the rectangular opening for holding a container.

12. The installation as claimed in claim 11, including a filler member filling the gap between the rectangular opening in the base member and the headstone.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to upright markers or headstones for burial sites, and to methods of installing such markers or headstones.

Upright grave markers or headstones in the past have typically relied on the inconsistent support of the earth in which they are partially submerged in order to keep them upright. Over the years, headstones or markers will tend to tilt or even fall over without support.

Some cemeteries now use single or double depth concrete lawn crypts which are initially buried in rows, with crypts positioned side-by-side in each row to cover the entire cemetery area. When an interment takes place, the selected crypt is uncovered, the lid is removed, and the casket is placed into the crypt before replacing the lid. The crypt is then re-covered with earth and turf. More space is required between such crypts when upright markers or headstones are to be used, since the headstone will require a foundation to prevent it from tipping or tilting, and you cannot put an upright directly on top of a lawn crypt. Thus, a typical space of 30 inches is provided between adjacent rows of crypts.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,243,997 of Sannipoli, a vault lid system for lawn crypts is described which allows such crypts to be placed closer together. In this system, the lid of a lawn crypt is modified to support a headstone containment box, which is open at its upper end to receive the lower end of a headstone or upright marker. The gap between the headstone and the walls of the box can be filled with gravel or the like. Since the headstone now rests on the crypt itself instead of a distance away in the earth, lawn crypts can be set a mere six inches away from one another, head to toe. This allows five lawn crypts to be placed in the same area previously occupied by four crypts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved headstone or upright marker assembly and method for a lawn crypt.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a headstone assembly for a lawn crypt is provided, which comprises a headstone holder box having a lower closed end for securing to a lawn crypt and an open upper end, the box having a cavity of rectangular cross-section shaped and dimensioned to receive the lower end of a headstone, a generally rectangular headstone having a lower end portion for engagement in the cavity with an upper end portion projecting upwardly out of the cavity, and a separate headstone base member having a flat lower surface for engaging the ground above a buried lawn crypt and a rectangular opening of predetermined dimensions for engaging over the headstone after the headstone has been installed in the holder box, whereby the base member can slide down over the headstone until the lower surface of the base member engages the ground to form a flat base member surrounding the base of the headstone.

The base member acts as a collar engaging over the headstone and may be readily installed after the headstone has been assembled in the headstone holder box. The base member may be of any desired peripheral shape such as circular, square, rectangular or the like, and may have one or more openings for receiving flower vases, cremation urns, or the like. A filler material such as a bead of caulking or the like may be placed in the gap between the headstone and base member opening after the base member has been properly positioned.

The headstone holder may be provided with a temporary removable lid or cap for placing over its open end until the time of the first burial. This will prevent dirt from entering the cavity in the headstone box, which could otherwise be an obstacle to proper placement of the headstone.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a burial method for a lawn crypt is provided, which comprises the steps of installing a crypt having a removable lid in an excavated hole in the ground at a predetermined level below the ground level, the removable lid having a head end and a foot end, and an upwardly directed headstone holder projecting upwardly from the lid at a location adjacent the head end of the lid, the headstone holder having an upwardly facing, rectangular cavity, and re-filing the hole with soil above the crypt, at the time of the first interment, excavating the soil above the crypt to expose the crypt lid, removing the crypt lid, inserting a casket into the crypt, subsequently replacing the lid, inserting the lower end of a headstone into the cavity in the headstone holder so that an upper end portion of the headstone projects above the ground level, filling the cavity around the headstone with a filler material, re-filling the hole to the ground level to cover the lid and headstone holder, engaging a rectangular opening in a base member over the upper end portion of the headstone, and sliding the base member downwardly over the headstone until the base member rests on the ground to provide a horizontal surface surrounding the headstone.

The horizontal surface of the base member may be engraved or carved with additional indicia or decorative material, and the base member is provided with openings for receiving flower vases and the like, so that vases or other containers will be held upright.

The method may include the step of covering the open upper end of the headstone holder with a cap or lid until the time of the first interment, to prevent soil or other material from entering and partially filling the cavity. Alternatively, if a burial takes place without any headstone being available, the cap may be left in place until it is time to install the headstone and the base member.

A further step may also be provided, in which the gap between the headstone and opening in the base member is filled with a suitable filler material such as a caulking bead.

In the event that the crypt is a double depth crypt with two burial chambers, the above method steps can be carried out at the first burial. When the second burial is to take place, the base member can slide up over the headstone for removal, and the headstone is then removed from the headstone box. The optional lid or cap may be placed over the upper end of the headstone holder cavity. This may be done some time before the burial to allow additional information to be carved on the headstone and/or base member. The ground above the crypt lid is then excavated to expose the lid, and the lid is removed to allow the second casket to be placed in the upper chamber of the crypt. The lid is then replaced. The cap on the headstone box is removed and the headstone is replaced. The hole above the crypt lid is then re-filled, and the base member can then be engaged over the headstone again and slide down over the headstone until it is seated on the ground.

The headstone or upright marker assembly and method of this invention is an improvement over the assembly and method described in prior U.S. Pat. No. 6,243,997 referred to above, since it permits the easy addition of a horizontal base member with openings for supporting vases, cremation urns, or the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like parts and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the components of a headstone assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the headstone assembly when installed over a lawn crypt;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the headstone assembly and buried vault, partially in section, illustrating the buried portions of the assembly;

FIG. 4 is a vertical cross sectional view of the headstone holder box with an optional cap covering the open end of the box;

FIGS. 5A to 5D illustrate a series of steps for installing the headstone assembly over a lawn crypt; and

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative base member for the assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the various parts of a headstone assembly 10 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, while FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the parts assembled on a lawn crypt 11. The assembly basically comprises a headstone holder or containment box 12, a headstone 14, and a base member 15 for sliding engagement over the headstone. The assembly may also include a cap or lid 16 for covering the open end 18 of the headstone holder box 12, as will be described in more detail below.

The headstone holder box 12 is substantially as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,243,997, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. The box 12 may be formed integrally with the lid 20 of a lawn crypt, or may be formed separately and mounted in a recess in the head end of the lid, or may be mounted in an end piece 22 formed separately from the lid 20, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The end piece 22 is designed for mating engagement with the end of the lid to form a smooth continuation of the lid when installed.

All parts of the headstone assembly are made of a suitable material such as natural stone, granite, marble, or cement. The headstone 14 and base member 15, which will be visible after the interment, will typically be made of a decorative stone material. The headstone holder box 12, which is buried in the soil after installation, may be of cement or may be of plastic. Box 12 has a rectangular cavity 24 of a shape matching those of the lower end of headstone 14 and dimensions slightly greater than the cross-sectional dimensions of the headstone. The cavity has an open upper end 18. A drain hole 19 is provided adjacent the lower end of the cavity for draining of moisture from the cavity. The headstone 14 is of conventional shape. It will be understood that the headstone and holder box 12 may be made of different shapes and dimensions for different installations.

Base member 15 is a generally flat, rectangular member having a rectangular opening 25 adjacent its rear face 26. The opening 25 is of predetermined shape and dimensions for sliding engagement over the top of the headstone 14. Base member 15 also has two or more circular openings 28 for receiving vases, cremation urns, or the like, such as vase 29 illustrated in FIG. 2. The circular openings 28 have located adjacent a forward edge of base member 15, where the opening 25 is located close to the rear edge. The base member may be made with different peripheral shapes, and FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative base member 30 with a circular outer periphery. Base member 30 has the same rectangular opening 25 and circular openings 28 as the member 15 of FIGS. 1 to 3. Base members may also be provided in other peripheral shapes to provide different decorative effects, such as oval, square, hexagonal, star-shaped, and the like.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the headstone assembly installed over a lawn crypt 11, with FIG. 3 illustrating the buried parts of the assembly. As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the lower end of the headstone 14 is engaged in the cavity 24 and the gap between the headstone and inner walls of the cavity is filled with a suitable filler material such a gravel 32. The hole in the ground above the crypt 11 is filled with earth 34 and covered with turf. The opening 25 in the base member 15 is engaged over the headstone 14 with the lower face of the base member resting on the ground over the grave site. The gap between opening 25 and the headstone may be filled with a suitable filler material such as epoxy, grout, or a caulking bead 35.

A container such as a flower vase 29 or a cremation urn may be placed in one or both of the circular openings 28. If either of the openings is unused, it may be covered by a suitable cap. The base member 15 completely covers the opening in the turf around the headstone, and provides for a more finished appearance to the grave marker. Additionally, it provides a convenient stand for securing flower vases or the like, so that they do not have to be placed on an uneven ground surface.

FIGS. 5A to 5D illustrate the steps in a method of installing the headstone assembly of FIG. 1 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. FIG. 5A illustrates a hole made above a lawn crypt 12 prior to a burial, with the lid of the crypt removed. The end piece 22 of the lid remains in place on the head end of the crypt. End piece 22 has a recess 36 in which the headstone box 12 can be mounted either prior to or after the burial.

After the casket has been placed in the crypt, the lid 20 is replaced, and the headstone box 12 is secured in recess 36 using bolts or suitable fasteners. The lower end of headstone 14 is then inserted into the cavity 24 in the headstone box 12, and the gap between the headstone and inner walls of the cavity is filled with gravel or the like to hold the headstone upright. If a headstone is not to be installed immediately after interment, temporary cap 16 may instead be placed over the open upper end of the box 12 as illustrated in FIG. 4. This will keep dirt out of the cavity 24 until the upright marker or headstone is ready to be installed, at which point the cap is removed and the marker or headstone is suitably positioned in the cavity, as described above and illustrated in FIG. 3.

After the headstone is positioned or the cap is in place, the hole above the crypt lid is filled with soil to ground level, and the grave site is covered with a layer 38 of real or artificial turf, with a hole 40 in the turf layer for passing over the headstone, as illustrated in FIG. 5C. The base member opening 25 is then engaged over the top of the headstone in the manner of a collar, and moved down over the headstone until it is seated on top of the turf layer 38, as indicated in FIG. 5D. If desired, a filler material or filler bead 35 may be inserted in the gap between the opening 25 and headstone 14.

The opening 25 in the base member is of predetermined dimensions slightly larger than the cross sectional dimensions of the headstone so that it can engage over the headstone and slide down easily into the final position of FIGS. 2, 3 and 5D. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the width of the gap was of the order of 0.25 to 0.125 inches.

Lawn crypts are provided as single or double depth crypts. A double depth crypt or vault is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,030 of Sannipoli, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. The headstone assembly of this invention may be mounted on top of any lawn crypt, whether single or double depth.

If a headstone assembly has been installed after a first interment, it may be readily disassembled in order to allow for the second interment. The bead 35 is first removed, and the collar or base member 15 is then slid upwardly over the top of the headstone, and set aside. The turf layer is removed and a hole is dug into the soil in order to expose the lid 20. If desired, the headstone may also be removed from the headstone box to allow additional information to be carved on the headstone. The temporary cap 16 may be placed over the opening of the cavity. Alternatively, the headstone may be left in place during the second interment.

The lid 20 of the crypt is then removed, and the headstone box 12 and end piece 22 may also be removed if necessary. However, the second casket may normally be lowered into the upper chamber of the crypt 11 without removing end piece 22. The lid 20 is then replaced, and the hole above the crypt is again covered with soil to ground level, with the layer of turf replaced over the site. The base member 15 is then placed over the headstone, with the opening 25 sliding down over the headstone until member 15 is properly positioned on the ground in a horizontal orientation, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. At this point, the gap between opening 25 and the headstone may be filled with a new caulking or epoxy bead 35.

The headstone assembly of this invention permits easy addition of a horizontal base member over a headstone or upright marker, so that the base member rests on the ground surrounding the headstone. This provides a more finished appearance to the grave marker. The base member may be carved with informational or ornamental indicia, and has openings for supporting vases, cremation urns, and the like.

Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described above by way of example only, it will be understood by those skilled in the field that modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.