The news in the paper on Thanksgiving Day was headlined “Casket Breaks Open at Burial.” The story focused on a lawsuit filed by a suburban Phoenix family after their father’s body slipped from a shattered casket when it was dropped into a grave during a burial ceremony. Some highlights:
The funeral home didn’t have the solid wood casket the widow wanted, but “upgraded” her to another model for free. The upgrade turned out to be made of stapled-together particle board.
The strap on the casket-lowering device snapped, sending the coffin plunging headfirst into the grave, causing the casket lid to disconnect and exposing the body of 50-year-old Robert Gowdy, Sr. The family said the city cemetery workers promptly ran off, so the city is one of the parties being sued.
Two people attending the funeral jumped into the grave and attempted to lift the coffin with the body. That’s when the particle board casket came apart, and the body fell out into the grave. He had to be lifted out by his arms and legs, and was placed on the ground, then transferred back into the hearse, sans casket.
Six days later, the family gathered again for a second burial. The widow wanted to view her husband’s body one last time, and was mortified to see he had been dressed in a black pinstripe suit (her husband hated pinstripes), and various clothes that did not match, because his original burial garments had been ruined. Plus, a bracelet that the man’s daughter had given him was missing.
It’s amazing but true. You just can’t make this stuff up.