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Categorized | Post Scripts

New burial policy needed

This is regarding Wood TV 8’s recent coverage about the poorly handled burial of my cousin, Gracia Blanchard, by the City of Cedar Springs Manager Mike Womack. Both of my parents’ families are from Cedar Springs, so we have a long history in the community, including caring for the gravestones of family members buried in Elmwood Cemetery. 

The lack of compassion showed by the City Manager was disappointing but worse yet was how he dealt with this situation. After receiving a document proving that Gracia was indeed Wells and Virginia Blanchard’s daughter, Mike told me that he needed some proof that her parents wanted her buried next to them before he could approve the burial. This is totally ridiculous, as it’s assumed that parents want their children buried next to them unless there is documentation to prove otherwise. Our family has contacted several other municipalities about this situation and none stated that this is their policy. Mr. Womack then sent several emails and had multiple phone conversations with family members to see if he could find any proof of the parents’ wishes. He asked a 90-year-old cousin to come to City Hall to sign an affidavit stating her knowledge of the parents’ wishes. 

He also told me over the phone that the Wood TV 8 coverage of the story was “garbage” but from my family’s perspective, he didn’t like the news story because it told the truth and it did not shed him in a positive light. His version of the story does not match what we know and what he was told about this situation. How this situation was handled by Mr. Womack was not only shocking, hurtful and infuriating to my family but it should be an embarrassment to the City of Cedar Springs. If this is truly how you handle burials at the City of Cedar Springs, you clearly need a new policy so this situation does not repeat itself in the future.

David Hudson, Vancouver, WA

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