Ge­orge’s Brook fam­ily seek­ing so­lu­tion to grave­yard mix-up

Chaf­fey fam­ily says some­one else mis­tak­enly buried in fam­ily plot

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY MARK SQUIBB Mark.squibb@thep­acket.ca

When Florence Chaf­fey heard the ru­mour in June that a man had been buried in the ceme­tery plot she is sup­posed to even­tu­ally share with her late hus­band, Mau­rice, in the Mil­ton—Ge­orge’s Brook All De­nom­i­na­tion Ceme­tery, she thought it too un­likely to be true.

“A friend came to me, and she told me about it,” Chaf­fey told The Packet Tues­day.

“She said, ‘I’m on two minds of telling you, be­cause I fig­ures that you may know and don’t want to be talk­ing about it, but I heard that there’s some­one buried next to Mau­rice.’”

“’Oh, that’s not pos­si­ble,’ I said to her,” re­called Chaf­fey.

She ar­ranged a meet­ing with the ceme­tery com­mit­tee to have the ru­mour dis­missed, only to find out it was fact.

“I was stunned,” said Chaf­fey. She said they had bought plot 186 — a dou­ble plot — in 2015. Her hus­band died and was buried in Oc­to­ber 2016.

In June 2017, she had a head­stone in­stalled in time for Fa­ther’s Day.

It was then she no­ticed that the grave seemed off — the gravel looked re­cently dis­turbed. But, since there had been a layer of snow on the ground when her hus­band had been buried in Oc­to­ber, she didn’t think much of it.

A few days later, dur­ing the burial of a man in plot num­ber 188, some­body no­ticed the gravel and sud­denly re­al­ized what had hap­pened — the plot owner of 187, who had been buried in De­cem­ber 2016, just months af­ter Mau­rice, had been buried in plot 186.

The news was a shock to Chaf­fey Florence Chaf­fey at home.

and her fam­ily.

“I was in dis­be­lief. I couldn’t be­lieve what was go­ing on,” said Karen Strong, Florence’s niece. “He’s right there in her plot.” A meet­ing of the grave­yard com­mit­tee was quickly called in the be­gin­ning of July, and the com­mit­tee drafted a let­ter to send to Blun­don’s Fu­neral Home, who had buried the man in the wrong plot.

The com­mit­tee hoped the is­sue would be re­solved quickly.

Ac­cord­ing to com­mit­tee mem­ber David Pel­ley, that let­ter went unan­swered.

A po­ten­tial so­lu­tion was of­fered by Fewer’s Fu­neral Home in Clarenville. They had buried Mau­rice Chaf­fey and of­fered, for free, to move the body that was buried in the wrong plot.

A spokesper­son for Fewer’s Fu­neral Home told The Packet that it was their way to make a wrong a right, even though the wrong was not made by Fewer’s.

How­ever, the Chaf­fey fam­ily al­leges the other fam­ily would not agree to the re­moval and re­burial of the body, un­less the Chaf­fey fam­ily agreed to a list of de­mands, in­clud­ing a new cas­ket, the cost of which would fall to the Chaf­fey fam­ily.

Chaf­fey said she couldn’t agree to that.

“It cost me over $12,000 for my hus­band’s fu­neral. … Why should I have to pay for some­one else’s when it wasn’t my fault?” she said.

It was then the fam­ily then re­al­ized that they would need to take le­gal ac­tion, and ap­proached the law firm of Hughs and Bran­nans.

The fam­ily’s lawyers drafted an agree­ment for the other fam­ily — and when they re­fused to sign, the fam­ily said the­yare in the process of court ac­tion to try to me­di­ate the sit­u­a­tion.

“I don’t un­der­stand why they’re be­ing so dif­fi­cult. I’ve kept it out of the me­dia, I didn’t broad­cast it for al­most 10 months. I tried to do what I could and what was rea­son­able. And I can’t take it no more.

“I done it their way and now I’ll do it mine.”

David Pel­ley, trea­sure of the com­mit­tee, said there’s no ques­tion a mis­take was made.

He ex­plained to The Packet the Chaf­fey fam­ily pur­chased Plot 186 years ago, and the other fam­ily had only pur­chased plot 187 in Fe­bru­ary 2017, two months af­ter the man was mis­tak­enly buried in plot 186.

The Packet con­tacted the fam­ily of the man who is mis­tak­enly buried in plot 186. That fam­ily de­clined to com­ment be­cause the mat­ter is be­fore the courts.

The Packet also con­tacted Blun­don’s Fu­neral Home for com­ment, and they also de­clined, say­ing the mat­ter is be­fore the courts.

For Chaf­fey, the af­fair has made an al­ready dif­fi­cult process even harder.

“It’s hard hav­ing to live with­out my hus­band, with­out hav­ing to go through all this. It’s not easy. We were mar­ried for al­most 43 years,” she said.

“My hus­band was a hard­work­ing man.”

Ac­cord­ing to Chaf­fey, the case may be heard at an­other court hear­ing in May.

MARK SQUIBB/ THE PACKET

MARK SQUIBB/ THE PACKET

The grave plot owned by The Chaf­feys.

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