Living legacy


Here’s a plan for the ever after, for the ecology-minded sea lover: Turn yourself in to a little eco-system as a reef on the ocean floor, with the help of a Florida company, Eternal Reefs (

The idea came about in the late 1980s, when two young men, Todd Barber and Don Brawley, wanted to help the deteriorating reefs around the world, and came up with the “reef ball” project, creating artificial reefs to attract the growth that occurs on the real deal. Since 1992, 70 countries have been involved, and more than 700,000 reef balls have been placed on the ocean floor.

It wasn’t a big leap to incorporate human remains into the mix, and Eternal Reefs was born. They will add your ashes (you can even add a pet’s, too) to an “environmentally safe concrete reef mixture,” then place the mixture in a mold and cure it.

A fresh layer of concrete is added to the top so families can add hand prints, written messages, seashells and environmentally safe mementos. As a finishing touch, a bronze plaque is attached. Finally, a boat transfers the reef ball to its ocean floor location. A photo is shown, courtesy of Eternal Reefs.

The idea must be catching on, because company’s website says there are more than 1,800 Eternal Reefs placed off the coasts of several southeastern states. If you want to make yourself a living legacy, literally, and help the ocean at the same time, here’s your shot.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or