George’s Brook family seeking solution to graveyard mix-up
Chaffey family says someone else mistakenly buried in family plot
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.
The grave plot owned by The Chaffeys.