Remembering loved ones along Florida's coasts

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Since birth, John Flowers had a strong connection to the sea.  His mother watched it grow over the years.

"Since he was a baby, he loved the ocean and the beach," said Phyllis Flowers.  "When he was 6 years old, he got his first tank and his first BC and he started diving."

John hoped to become a paleontologist, but when he was a freshman in college, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He died seven months later.

"His whole being was about the ocean," said Phyllis.

John told his family he didn't want a traditional burial.  He wanted to be cremated and become part of a reef ball that would be placed in the water to help form a reef.

"As cremation rates rise, as families start living in other parts of the country, the traditional burial and traditional family cemetery is going away," said George Frankel with Eternal Reefs.

Eternal Reefs is based out of Sarasota.  They mix people's cremains with cement and place it atop a reef ball.

Families participate in every step, memorializing their loved ones in a way that will benefit the future.

"This is something of value and I think that is what the baby boomers are looking for, something that represents who they were in life and gives a contribution back at the end of their life," continued Frankel.

Phyllis knows visiting her son won't be too hard.  His reef ball will be placed a few miles off the Sarasota shore.

"I have never dove in my life, but my son said that was his last hurrah in life. I have to go see him. I have to go dive," she said.

Reef balls have been placed off shore from New Jersey to Texas, giving families a unique and special way to remember.

"He was just a very passionate person about the things he loved," Phyllis added.  "This is just a blessing to be able to put him where he wants to be."

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