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Efforts to arrange burial frustrating

 

January 18, 2020 Letters to the Editor

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I decided at age 85 to make arrangements for my burial in Concord Church Cemetery. We visited my plot in early May and found items missing, stones moved, plus two unset, older tombstones with surname, Ellenberger, leaning nearby. I reported this to the present minister. He said a cemetery director would call.

The call was distressing. The cemetery director insinuated all I had reported was untrue and that no Ellenberger had ever been buried in that cemetery, even claimed my burial plot was not a five-site-plot. My deed states five! I was aware of who he was, but did not actually know him. As far as know, he did not know me either.

He later told us my burial couldn’t be by the two buried there for they were buried wrong, claimed a site unusable and warned us to keep back as bees were at another site.

He pointed to where the new stones could be placed; the area was sprayed orange. About 40 inches separated the sprayed, squeezed together sites from the two occupied ones. It looked like separate burial plots.

My first letter to Concord reported all this. The letter was passed around and late the next month landed in the hands of another cemetery director. He called and asked for a couple days’ time. I agreed until he said it would be two weeks before he could schedule anything. The cement had to be poured before November. I said, I can’t wait that long. He said, “Fine,” and hung up on me.

Two associated with the cemetery claimed burial could be at any remaining site. Two others claimed my relatives were buried wrong and one site was unusable. I requested at least someone write on their letterhead where the cement and stones could be placed. No one did.

The cement pouring and tombstones placement were placed on hold. The two funeral homes used in the past were contacted about the “buried wrong” report. The one tried to be helpful. The Butler one wasn’t. said they no longer kept 20-year old records.

This upsetting situation was ignored from early May to November by both church and cemetery. Not one letter to either was acknowledged. In fact, the last one sent was returned as undeliverable.

I contracted, paid and received $500 ground imaging report concerning my plot. It showed no problems and arrangements for pouring cement and placing stones were again made by me. The cemetery was notified via a letter mailed to a cemetery associate’s home address. He must have received it since it didn’t return. An answer was not received.

I didn’t expect the cemetery to replace the four missing round stones inscribed with an “M” on my plot. I did expect to hear why my sister and father’s stones had been moved. Photographs document this. Ancestry.com shows several by name of Ellenberger had actually been buried in Concord Church Cemetery. Ground imaging proved that first director lied about my five-site plot and the two burials there were OK. No bees were ever seen by any of us and the caretaker reported never seeing any there. I did expect several untruths to be addressed.

What could that director’s and/or cemetery’s agenda be? I decided for my own-health and well-being to put it behind me, to forget about the cemetery and their insults. My tombstone would be there, but not my remains.

After all those many months of indifference a letter arrived. This was several weeks after the $500 ground imaging report was received, the cement poured and stones set. It mentioned taking my “perceived notions” seriously, addressed the size of my plot, the placement of their ground markers, that the plot was full and hoped that addressed my concerns. What a slap in the face!

Not one concern was addressed. The ill treatment and indifference all came flooding back. I do not know why this has happened, but do hope it will never happen to anyone else.

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