Robert Sylvester of Thompson Funeral Services is looking for the rightful owners of 75 sets of cremains — some of which have been unclaimed for 60 years.

Nelson funeral home seeks ashes’ owners

A local funeral home is searching for next-of-kin for about 75 sets of ashes, some dating back more than 60 years.

A Nelson funeral home is searching for next-of-kin for about 75 sets of ashes, some dating back more than 60 years.

An ad in Friday’s Star was a step toward dealing with the unclaimed cremains, according to Thompson Funeral Services director Robert Sylvester.

“We’ve tried over the years on different occasions to contact the families,” he says, “but if they don’t live in town or the family contact is no longer around, it’s hard to get hold of them, especially if we don’t know any other relatives.”

Sylvester says in many cases ashes aren’t picked up due to miscommunication — family members each think another has taken them.

The convenience of cremation also means there isn’t as much urgency to inter the ashes in the cemetery, as there is with a traditional funeral, he adds.

“People tend to forget. They think they’ll have a service six months down the road but it may not take place for whatever reason.”

Cremains still unclaimed after May 31 will be interred in a common grave in the city cemetery. The earliest set is from 1951, the most recent from 2001.

Friday’s ad has already produced results: several people have come forward to claim their relatives’ remains.

“Usually they felt somebody else in the family had picked them up,” Sylvester says. “They were unaware they were still here.”

A couple of factors — liability and lack of physical space — are driving the funeral home’s decision to dispose of the the ashes, which are stored in a locked closet.

Although it’s unusual, it is not unprecedented. A Trail funeral home went through a similar process ten years ago, and others have done the same. Such dispositions are governed by legislation.

Sylvester says their overriding concern is to treat the remains with “dignity and respect.”

“After 50 years or so, I think it’s time to do something,” he says.

The full list of remains is below.

Just Posted

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

1919: Hudson’s Bay Company gets an addition, council votes to exclude ‘undesirable enemy aliens’

Greg Scott brings us five Nelson Daily News stories from a century ago

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Man found dead identified as Andreas Pittinger

Pittinger was known locally for hosting a radio show

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Most Read