Jewish Cemetery Orange County – Kathy DiPeri

Funeral Director Orange County

Funeral Director Orange County - Kathy DiPeri - Harbor Lawn & Mount Olive

I’m Kathy DiPeri from Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive Mortuary and Memorial Park.

We have a cemetery. What’s unique about our cemetery, and this is actually a good tip, We are one of the only cemeteries in Southern California that allows upright monuments. For some people that’s really important especially if you are into geneology.

It means their headstones are big. We allow a half a million dollar monuments. Very large. It’s getting difficult for us to maintain but we allow it. Most places are called Memorial parks and are called such because they are flat. But that has changed because we do allow upright monuments. You allow one you must allow everyone.

The other thing that’s unique about us is that we have a crematory and we have ample parking. A lot of places don’t have crematories and have to send the bodies someplace else. What we can do, is we can do a service and then following the service we can go right into the crematory and do a cremation. I do a lot of that with the Buddhist community, with the Hindu community, so that’s very unique to us and there is only a handful of places around that will do that. So that’s a good tip if you know anybody that’s Buddhist. Send them my way because I have ample parking.

I have a chapel that holds about 250 people. It’s a decent sized chapel. Also there is one other thing. We do a lot of advanced planning. It’s called Pre-need. I always talk about how it’s important to do your trust. About 7 months ago, I had a husband and wife come into the Mortuary. The husband was ill. They were looking around. He made it very clear that he wanted to be buried and not cremated. The wife said “Okay, I have some property I will bury you there when you die.” He dies. Turns out, and I have an uncanny ability to get secrets out of people, turns out they weren’t married. They were together 16-18 years. We, just now, with permission from the State of California, about a week ago, we were able to bury. It was very difficult. So that’s one thing you folks need to do. If you have friends and family that are not married and don’t have a trust in place, it’s very important to have a trust in place. Even though you’ve been together a long time, to the State of California, that does not count. I had to go back to the next of kin, which basically abandoned this man. They said, “We want nothing to do with it.” We had to go to the Public Administrator. The Public Administrator finally, after months of fighting with the family, gave us permission to cremate. Well, we knew this man did not want to be cremated. I had to go back to the Public Administrator to get permission to bury. We gave this man a grave. We could not use the space that the so-called spouse had available. We ended up giving him everything. We gave him a casket, a grave. We took $425 from the county, because that’s what they paid along with the burial. It was so difficult to get this person buried. So that’s why I say—This man wanted to do a trust but he kept postponing it and then he goes and dies. So you need to make sure you have a trust, you have your healthcare directive in place because especially if you have family that you’re fighting with, if you have kids that hate you and want nothing to do with you, you’re in trouble. This gal tried to go to court. They didn’t want anything to do with it because she had no rights. So that’s why I say you have no idea how important this is. Just the other day, I had almost a similar situation. I had kids–I basically had to threaten them. I called the coroner and asked him to do me a little favor. He called the kids and told them they were going to be going to court if they didn’t get their butts down to the mortuary and take care of things. The grandfather was able to pay, but the kids wanted nothing to do with the dad. They hated his guts; he was a raging alcoholic.

Well, you need to have all your ducks in a row even when you die. It’s real important. We do have people if you need to Pre-Plan; they’re available. I don’t do it. I’m a licensed funeral director. It’s my job, when someone dies, to handle it; to make sure your loved one is taken care of. That’s really about it. I’m not discussing prices, because if I discuss prices I have to give you paperwork and I left that in my other car.


“I have a comment. I know after having the privilege of being in one of the funerals there, that everyone is very respectful. They treat everybody very, very well. There has never been a crime. Everything is very, very beautiful…”

Thank you, thank you. Yes, everything is very local.. We cater to the Jewish community there are actually a lot of temples around Orange County that own properties in our cemeteries.

“What is the maintenance issue on the upright monuments?

Well, when you have upright monuments, they get close. They almost touch. And how do you mow around a monument? But, you know, because of the weed-wackers and some of the other equipment that’s available it’s becoming easier. Once we’re full and we get all of these monuments it becomes difficult to maintain. Sometimes, when we have burials, we actually have to move monuments out of the way so they can bury them. We have to move the monuments back. But, my cemetery crew has been around for 25-35 years and they love the facility. I think that’s the big difference. We all for some reason have a connection to our mortuary and our cemetery. And we take a lot of pride in it. Is there anything else? I’m available 24 hours a day if anyone needs to talk to me.