Cycling advocate becomes Valley’s first green burial

Ecofriendly burial

Friends and family members gather around a biodegradable seagrass and wicker casket that contained Patrick Ytsmas unembalmed body at Green Meadow at Fountain Hill Cemetery Saturday afternoon. Patrick Ytsma's green burial was the first in the Lehigh Valley. Green Meadow at Fountain Hill Cemetery is the fourth established green cemetery in Pennsylvania. (KEVIN MINGORA / THE MORNING CALL)

Among baby boomers, a more earth-friendly final act is growing in demand.

December 13, 2011|By Scott Kraus, Of The Morning Call

In life, Patrick Ytsma of Bethlehem made it a point to minimize his drag on the environment, in part by riding his bike nearly everywhere he went.

So it was fitting that when he died tragically last week at 53 after colliding with a car on the Fahy Bridge, he would be laid to rest at Fountain Hill Cemetery in the Lehigh Valley’s first burial in a cemetery with a special area devoted to environmentally friendly interments.

Ytsma’s burial took place Saturday, funeral-goers forming a broad semicircle around the wind-swept hillside grave site as pallbearers delicately lifted the earth-friendly sea grass and willow casket that contained his un-embalmed body out of the hearse.

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