Woman Suspects Ashes Are Not Her Husband's

Woman Suspects Ashes Are Not Her Husband's

Posted: Updated:

A woman is distraught after waiting three weeks to get her husband's ashes from a local funeral home, who then released her husband's ashes to a complete stranger.

Last month Gwen Stokes had to say goodbye to her husband, Robert after he battled heart disease and lung cancer. A loving man who, she says, did not get upset easily.

"For 43 years we were married, you would really have to push his buttons to get a rise out of him, he was just that kind of person that didn't like arguments. He didn't like confusion, says Stokes.

But confusion was what Gwen was experiencing with the Memorial Funeral Home in Prichard when it took three weeks to get her husband's ashes. The funeral home told her first there was trouble getting the death certificate. So Stokes marched herself to Cogburn Rehabilitation where her husband was taking classes after breaking his leg, and got the certificate herself. Then after waiting and worrying for two weeks, she called the funeral home on Friday the tenth.

"And the young man says to me, he went to the crematory this morning. Miss Stokes, I should have something for you by Monday. Monday came, I didn't receive a call."

Meanwhile, the insurance company said they still hadn't received the death certificate. Wednesday, Stokes drives over to Memorial where she is told again that her husband was in the process of being cremated that morning. Gwen decided to call the funeral director who told her a different story.

"He says to me, oh Mrs. Stokes, Mr. Stokes has been cremated. I said, Mr. Stokes has not been cremated because Bernard just told me outside there 15 minutes ago that he's being cremated this morning. I said, you know what? Keep those ashes. Because at this point I don't know whose ashes they are."

Stokes says she did not feel that she got any sympathy from those at the funeral home, but feels closure after telling her story.

"If they had any compassion, they would have called me and said to me that they were sorry about what had happened. But they didn't call me, not one time. Not one time to tell me they were sorry about this. It was as if my husband didn't even exist. No matter what, this man deserved much better than that."

The director of Memorial Funeral Home, Bishop Cornelius Woods wouldn't go on camera, but said that in order to get the permit to cremate a body, the doctor has to sign off on it. They said the doctor was on vacation so it was two weeks before they got his signature. They told me they released the ashes this morning to a man who is friends with Stoke's daughter, but Stokes says she has never met that man and is appalled to find out they would release the ashes to someone who isn't even a family member. Stokes plans on testing the ashes to see if they really are those of her husband's.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Brewton Woman On Life Support Following Swimming Accident

    Brewton Woman On Life Support Following Swimming Accident

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:53:43 GMT
    Stephanie Smith is in a coma at a local hospital following a swimming accident in Orange Beach Easter Weekend.
    Stephanie Smith is in a coma at a local hospital following a swimming accident in Orange Beach Easter Weekend.
  • Navy Investigates Ex-Blue Angel Commander

    Navy Investigates Ex-Blue Angel Commander

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:52 AM EDT2014-04-24 14:52:44 GMT
    Capt. McWherter (left) signs autographs for Blue Angel fans.Capt. McWherter (left) signs autographs for Blue Angel fans.
    News 5 has learned of shocking allegations concerning the Navy's elite flying team, The Blue Angels, and its former commander, Captain Gregory McWherter.
    News 5 has learned of shocking allegations concerning the Navy's elite flying team, The Blue Angels, and its former commander, Captain Gregory McWherter.
  • More Teens are Smoking Spice

    More Teens are Smoking Spice

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:14:18 GMT
    We take a closer look at how and who synthetic marijuana affects. News 5's Tiffany McCall sat down with a teenager who shares his encounter with the drug and what health officials are facing.

    We take a closer look at how and who synthetic marijuana affects. News 5's Tiffany McCall sat down with a teenager who shares his encounter with the drug and what health officials are facing.

Powered by WorldNow

555 Broadcast Dr,
Mobile AL 36606

Telephone: 251.479.5555
Fax: 251.473.8130
Email: news5@wkrg.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.