7 ON YOUR SIDE

7 On Your Side: Local cemetery tries to milk grieving family for thousands

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - For those laid to rest at Parklawn Memorial Gardens, families are saying it's not exactly eternal peace.

The grave of Charles Canty at Parklawn Cemetery in Rockville, Md. (Photo: Joce Sterman/WJLA)

A grounds crew keeps the Rockville cemetery looking its best, but the bouncing blades of lawnmowers can be a hazard.

Charles Canty didn't know his father's grave marker had been damaged, because he hasn't been to the cemetery in five years. He and his mother, Isolean, say they prefer to remember the man they loved through photographs of his life.

So, it was a surprise when, according to them, the cemetery called, demanding that they spend $3,000 to replace and upgrade his damaged grave marker - within 90 days.

"All of a sudden - because the marker was broken - we got a phone call," Canty said.

"I said, '$3,000?' I'm not going to replace anything, because I wasn't liable," he said.

The Cantys were suddenly being held responsible for adding a bronze marker to a burial site purchased with no frills way back in 1981. Parklawn told them the black stone marker that's been on the grave for the past six years was temporary, so the company doesn't have to fix it.

That's when the family called 7 On Your Side, worried the grave could end up with no marker at all.

"That's just disrespecting my father, disrespecting my whole family," Canty said.

Once 7 On Your Side got involved, Parklawn agreed to work with the family, replacing the damaged marker and pulling that request for the $3,000 upgrade.

A representative from Parklawn Memorial Gardens sent ABC 7 News the following statement:

"In the event a permanent marker is damaged by maintenance crews, it is the cemeteries’ policy to repair the damage or replace the permanent marker. But this policy does not apply to temporary markers.

As mentioned before we are working with the family to address their concerns. We take all customer complaints very seriously and are committed to resolving them as quickly as possible and to our customers’ complete satisfaction."

That solves the Canty's immediate problem, but it can't ease the grief they say has been stirred up all over again.

"I was upset, I was devastated," Canty said. "It just brought up old memories."

Old memories this family won't have to dwell on much longer, letting them remember Charles Canty Sr. the way he wanted - through happy images tucked between the pages of a photo album.

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