‘Just leave it alone. Let them rest,’ mother begs cemetery owners

RICHMOND, Va. -- A family is asking the CBS 6 Problem Solvers for help resolving an issue with a cemetery in Chesterfield County.

Linda Goode said her family has already been through a difficult ordeal after her grandson, Cody, and her husband, Cleg Goode, died three weeks apart in 2003.

Goode and her daughter, Jennifer Spencer, never miss a chance to visit their relatives’ gravesites at Dale Memorial Park.

Jennifer Spencer and Linda Goode.

Jennifer Spencer and Linda Goode.

For 15, the family has spent several thousand dollars securing 14 more plots for other relatives and also added a memorial bench to mark the family’s area.

Goode said she was assured by officials with Dale Memorial Park in 2003 that no one else could be buried behind their bench, which is next to a tree. She said management explained that there wasn’t enough room behind the bench to put other graves since roots from a tree would cause problems.

Goode showed CBS 6 Problem Solvers the paperwork that she said describes where cemetery officials allowed the bench to be located.

“They told us if we bought the bench and markers, we could put it up there because nobody would ever be buried there,” Goode said.

Receipt for bench.

Receipt for bench.

Jennifer Spencer, little Cody’s mother,  is also upset about the situation.

“We would have bought all of that land and we wouldn’t have left it down there," Spencer said. "They said nothing could go there so they put the bench there. That was 15 years ago. That’s not fair."

This week, Goode was devastated to get a call from the cemetery’s new management informing her she had to move her family’s memorial bench.

“I think someone wants to put two plots there and they want to sell them to make money,” Goode speculated.

She said her family has already been through enough. She explained that back in 2003 her grandson and husband were buried at Dale Memorial Park.

In fact, she said that a few weeks after her grandson and husband were buried at Dale Memorial Park in 2003, her relatives graves had to be dug up and relocated because of a tree and underground stream affecting  the graves.

Spencer said this most recent directive from cemetery management has been too much to bear.

“Who picks up the phone and calls a family after 15 years and says move that bench because we want it for plots to make money? Who does that?” Spencer questioned.

Dale Memorial Park

Dale Memorial Park

Goode said her family spent at least $5,000 on the memorial bench that the cemetery wants her to move. She said they now fear that Dale Memorial Park management will move the bench to squeeze in more graves, disrupting their family members' final resting place.

“I’m sick of it. It’s heartbreaking," Spencer said. "I buried that baby at 13 months old. Here I am 15 years later standing here talking to you because he wants to mess with the gravesite again. Just leave it alone. Let them rest.”

Both Spencer and Goode are desperate for a resolution. They turned to CBS 6 News Problem Solvers, hoping to get their story to fall on the right ears. They are praying cemetery management will reconsider and honor the agreement they believe has been place for 15 years.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to Dale Memorial Park a few times Thursday seeking comment and were referred to a public relations spokesperson Gretchen Whitaker. Whitaker said they aren’t at liberty to discuss information about a private customer and their arrangements.

Goode said she doesn’t want to pursue legal action because she can’t really afford it, but said that she may have to consider it if they can’t reach an amicable resolution.

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Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.