The Richmond Register

Local News

August 28, 2013

Family discovers mother’s burial did not meet regulations

Concrete vault was not deep enough

RICHMOND — Three siblings went to the Richmond Cemetery on Wednesday morning to visit the burial site of their mother, Mammie Helen Smith, who was laid to rest next to their father, John Morgan Smith, in March 2012.

While planting some bushes on their mother’s grave, they made an unexpected discovery.

Smith’s children Pam Strong, Sue Arvin and Robert Smith “hit something hard” with the shovel they were using to dig holes, Strong said Wednesday morning after the cemetery visit.

After some further digging, the siblings discovered that they were hitting the concrete vault surrounding their mother’s coffin, about 9 inches from the surface of the ground. According to state regulations, coffins enclosed in a vault made with impervious material and hermetically sealed must be buried in a depth that allows for at least 24 inches of soil from the top of the burial container to the natural surface of the ground.

“There’s no telling how many people are over there and not buried right,” Strong said, tears welling up in her eyes. “It’s a shame.”

Richmond Cemetery Director of Grounds Mike Rice visited the gravesite with the family Wednesday and confirmed that the vault was not deep enough, he said.

Rice checked the depth of John Smith’s grave and discovered that his remains were where they should be, Strong said.

Rice said he will do “whatever we need to do to take care of things” and gave the family two options.

The grave is in a low-lying area and more soil can be added to the plot, or the burial container can be exhumed and reburied at the correct depth at no charge to the family, he said.

“We don’t want her dug up, but we want to do what’s right for Mom,” Strong said. “I hate that we have to go through all this again, but we owe it to Mom.”

She said at the end of her mother’s burial service last year, she stayed behind to put a rose on her coffin before the vault was closed. She remembers thinking at that time that the grave did not look deep enough, Strong said.

The Smith’s 11 children will meet this Sunday to discuss the matter, she said.

According to Rice, graves are usually dug to around 52 inches, leaving the required 2 feet of soil on top. But the height of each vault can vary, he said, and each vault is generally measured to determine how deep to dig. 

“You can’t just eyeball it (the depth),” he said.

Rice is not sure why Smith’s grave was not dug deep enough, he said, but will “do some checking” into why the grave did not meet regulations.

The Richmond Cemetery has its own employees who dig graves and does not contract others to do the job, he said.

“The family is already going through enough losing a family member. I know it’s hard on them,” said Rice, whose own parents are buried at the Richmond Cemetery.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 8-1 Bees 2.jpg Bee-ing in the know

    Bee lovers were buzzing around Eastern Kentucky University this week for the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2014 conference.
    Hobbyists, scientists and apiarists traveled from as far as Canada, France and New Zealand, as well as many states, to spend the week exploring numerous aspects of bees.

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • 8-1 Tanya R. Horn.jpg Store employee charged with taking $10,000

    Tanya R. Horn, 33, of Darlene Court, pilfered $10,196 in cash from Posh Tots on Meridian Way over the course of two years, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 Candids 1.jpg Madison County Fair paid admissions total 10,000 by Tuesday

    Approximately 10,000 people had purchased tickets to the Madison County Fair by Tuesday evening, Billy Tudor, fair board president said Wednesday morning.
    The count does not include Sunday’s Family Fun Day, which offered free admission, Tudor said.

    July 31, 2014 10 Photos

  • 7-31 Pageant Toddler Girl Winners.jpg Babies, toddlers crowned at Madison County Fair

      

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Airport getting $600,000 in federal funds

    On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
    On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.

    July 31, 2014

  • Veggies going on the grill Saturday

    The Madison County Farmers Market will demonstrate Saturday that fresh garden vegetables can go on the grill as well as in a salad.
    The Madison County Extension Service staff, along with members of the extension homemakers clubs, will be on hand to show market customers how tasty grilled vegetables can be, said Gina Noe, extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

    July 31, 2014

  • Stumbo says McConnell ‘handpicked’ leader of coal association

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 31, 2014

  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results