Since it began advertising in March, a Nelson funeral home has found next-of-kin for more than half of its 75 boxes of unclaimed ashes, some dating back to the 1950s.
Thompson Funeral Services director Robert Sylvester says many people came forward before the May 31 deadline.
“A lot of them were surprised, but thankful we did it, so they at least knew what happened,” he says. “Lack of communication, basically, was the culprit.”
In many cases, one family member thought another had claimed the ashes, but instead they languished on the funeral home’s shelves for years or decades.
The remaining cremains will be buried in a common grave once the proper paperwork is done. Sylvester anticipated that would happen in the next week or 10 days. He said disposal of old ashes is common in the funeral industry, but it has never been done before in Nelson.