No peace for family caught in cemetery controversy

CREATED Apr 8, 2014

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CUADHY - The daughters don't want to bury their mother's cremated remains. But they do want the date of her death on the family headstone.

The cemetery has said no.

"We are not at peace. We don't have closure," said  Pam Sztukowski.

Pam's sisters wanted the family's headstone at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Cudahy to include the year their mother Rita was born and the date she died, April 26th, 2013.

There was no burial because the daughters and their mom decided her ashes would be divided and shared with the large family.

"She knew it was more important for us to all have a piece of her then to be there. She knew where she was going to be" said daughter Holly Flechner.

The Catholic cemetery said its policy was no burial - no death date on the headstone.

The sisters then thought the cemetery agreed to compromise: inscribe the words In Memory and then a death date, but the cemetery still said no.

There are 26,000 people buried at the Cudahy cemetery. The Cemetery Directory says this has never come up before. 

He did not go on camera but, he confirmed statements he made to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"The cemetery is following Christian burial beliefs, said Butch Miller. "When we have a person who has been cremated and they wish to have those cremated remains whole and buried at our cemetery, that is the only way we'll recognize."

It's been a year of heartache for the sisters.

"I can't even drive past the cemetery, said Pam. "I can't go visit her. I just feel incomplete. I feel like I let her down."

The cemetery says it never agreed to any compromise with the family but has offered to work with the family within its rules and regulations.

The family says it doesn't know what to do next