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Cemetery Do-Do

I will probably not live forever, so it is time to make some plans for my passing. Last month I called Eversole Mortuary and inquired about a nice headstone to be placed in my Grandfather’s cemetery plot at the Ukiah Cemetery. I know there is one space left in this plot and it is for me. Rick Eversole quoted me a price and it seemed fair. I have recently learned that Eversole also owns the monument company. I sent Eversole the $650 dollars and just hope the stone is set. The stone will come with my name and birth date on it. Rick assures me that upon my death that date will be put on the stone to be readable for years to come. 

The next thing I did was go to the cemetery office to make sure we did not have a repeat of the disaster when I had Eversole place a stone in the cemetery for my late brother. I walked into the office and tried to ask the clerk about the procedure for getting my stone placed in my family’s plot. The person in charge asked my name and then disappeared to a side room only to reemerge saying they had no record of a Bob Dempel. I responded that that was true — I was still living. I tried to explain that my immediate family had a plot. The person then asked the family name. I explained that my immediate family had a plot and that my historic family has another plot. 

This was way too confusing for this person who now identified herself as the office manager. She would need to call the cemetery grounds manager. I soon introduced myself to a tall young man named Jaymen. We looked at a drawing of all of the plots in the cemetery and I identified my immediate family’s plot. Jaymen then left to inspect the identified plot. When he returned, he instructed the clerk that there was one space left in the Pearle-Crawford plot which I had identified. The clerk then began a tirade that I needed some proof that I was a true descendent. Since I am the last descendent that I know of named Dempel except one daughter, just who would be the proof that I was entitled to use the plot? I do have a nephew but he does not go by Dempel. That is a whole different story. 

I then continued to explain that I wanted to pay for any and all permits due so that the tombstone ordered from Eversole (i.e., Mendocino Monuments) would be installed and not have the problem like I had had with installing a tombstone for my brother that resulted the cemetery district several years later digging up the stone and forcing me to come to the cemetery district shop and haul the tombstone away. 

At this point the clerk who now identified herself as the office manager became intolerable. I now know the clerk’s name is Dana Kornegay. I then asked for the name and phone number of the Chairman of the Russian River Cemetery District. I was told in no uncertain terms that she was not allowed to give out any information on the directors. However she would have the Chairman call me. 

I was able to get the amount of necessary fees so I could get my tombstone installed. I also asked for the fees that it would take for my brother’s tombstone to be replaced in the cemetery. 

By this time, I needed to exit the office — my emotions upon being treated so rudely are unacceptable to me. On the way out I noticed a box of Kleenex available for the public. I must not be the only person so badly treated because the district has Kleenex readily available.

I came home and sent two checks to the cemetery district. My fees were $295 and my brother’s fees were $130. I still cannot explain the difference between the costs. 

I then got a very interesting call from Rick Eversole. He had been in communication with the cemetery office probably to confirm that I had paid the fees and heard that the cemetery could not explain why they had previously dug up my brother’s tombstone. Now were going to reinstall it at no charge. Just bring my brother’s tombstone back to the cemetery. 

Keep in mind that when I was demanded to come to the cemetery district office shop several years ago and pick up the tombstone, I had to employ a person with a pick-up because the district had put a concrete collar around the tombstone. It now weighed several hundred pounds. The district’s Cemetery Grounds Foreman helped load it into the pickup.

A week or so went by and I did not receive a phone call from the Russian River Cemetery District Chairman as I had requested from Dana Kornegay, office clerk, or whatever she calls herself other than a rude person. 

I decided to call Chairperson Carol Connerton. It was easy enough to find her number in the Mendocino County phone book. There was no security clearance to phone her. Her husband answered the phone and soon enough she took my call. My call was no surprise to her. I guess the office clerk had related that they successfully sent someone out of the office close to tears. 

Carol offered to replace my brother’s tombstone at no cost to me. She said nothing about refunding me the permit fees I paid when the stone was set. The District office had sent me a copy of an invoice from the Russian River Cemetery District for $815 to Mendocino Monuments (Eversole). The invoice was for setting the tombstone for, of all people, William Dempel, plus a couple of others. So now the District cannot claim that my brother’s headstone was never there. The date was 3/13/07.

The rub here is that if any descendent objects to my brother’s tombstone being replaced the district will remove it again. This is exactly what happened to my brother’s tombstone the first time around. After being set in 2007, two of my cousins, Valerie and Lynne Crawford Christensen went up to the Crawford plot looking for where their remains could be placed. They saw my brother’s tombstone and demanded it be removed. Just like that. 

Another big rub is that Valerie’s ex-husband is buried in the Crawford plot. I have a letter of approval from my senior cousin stating he has no objection to the placement of my brother’s tombstone in the historic Crawford plot.

I then got a letter addressed to the wrong address from Carol Connerton, Chairman.

She stated the entire staff has nothing in their memory or in writing of having my brother’s tombstone removed. Interesting. I have a letter from the pickup owner stating he accompanied me on the trip to the cemetery. 

She went on to state the district believes I have a right to place my brother’s headstone in the plot but I need unanimous agreement between the descendants. I know right now the two Crawford misfits are going to object as they did before. 

She also stated the district would return the check I gave them to replace my brother’s tombstone and replace the tombstone for free. I have received no check from the district. I have not received anything from the district to support her verbal commitments. 

She went on to state I may be in violation of Health and Safety 9002. That section has to do with headstones. I paid Eversole for a headstone assuming it was proper. The district charged Eversole for the placement of the stone. Eversole paid the district with my money, and then the district dug up the tombstone. There has to be something criminal here.

I then received another letter from Dana Kornegay stating again I must have unanimous agreement with all the descendants. I got that. I asked them to come to my home to pick up the tombstone and place it, but they refused. I hope the two cousins are soon occupying the plot. Then I can get my brother’s tombstone placed properly.

One Comment

  1. chuck dunbar April 26, 2019

    Jesus, that is a strange, sad story– what a mess. I hope it gets straightened out for you, Mr. Dempel. I hope that it helped you a bit to write this one up for all of us to read.

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