Honest mistake: Grieving family says local cemetery ‘dropped the ball’

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News I-Team

khou.com

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 10:40 PM

HUMBLE, Texas -- Our lives are full of second chances, but some things you just can’t do over. Case in point: The burial of a loved one.

“I still can’t believe it,” said Marlo Kurz who buried her father in August. “This shouldn’t have happened. This shouldn’t have happened.”

Her father, Rodney Bullinger, 66, a father of three and a grandfather of ten, was loved. But what he thought was an arthritis problem eventually turned out to be cancer.

Soon, too soon, Rodney passed way.

But it was after his funeral, with their patriarch’s body in a hearse and the grieving following behind in their cars, that the family says they got another shock.

The Bullingers say when they got to the cemetery, Rosewood Cemetery in Humble, there was a problem. They say the grave site wasn’t ready.

“It was devastating to our family,” says Kurz, especially since she says they had already paid nearly $9,000 for a plot and burial.

“There were no chairs, no place to put the casket, no one really out there guiding us on what we were supposed to do,” said Kurz. “People that were following us are coming to the service at the cemetery, (they) were getting out of their cars not really knowing where to go.”

She described it as “awkward” and “bizarre” and says they ended up saying goodbye to her father on a cemetery road, gathered around his hearse, the coffin within.

“That was not right, having to lay flowers on the casket in the back of hearse instead of, you know, out where he is going to be buried,” she commented.

It was also something that she says was very hard on her 65-year-old mother, Rodney’s wife.

“I just feel bad for her that it had to be that way,” Kurz said, tearing up. “At first she didn’t care, but now you think back, it’s just you know, this shouldn’t have happened.”

The Bullingers say they complained to the cemetery staff, but after they claim they received half-answers and delays they decided to call KHOU-TV.

So the I-Team decided to visit Rosewood Cemetery, where the manager blamed it on a mix up.

“There was an error in timing when his service would arrive,” explained Rosewood manager Ron Lofton. “An unfortunate thing happened. I can’t take away that. All I can do is to make it different from this point forward.”

Later, owner and President of Rosewood Cemetery Jess Fields told the KHOU 11 News I-Team that the Bullingers have now been refunded about $1300 of their fees. He also says he has donated a $1000 to a breast cancer foundation in the name of Rodney Bullinger.

Fields says Rosewood has done stellar business in the community for nearly 90 years and that what happened was an honest mistake. He also points out that only the chairs and carpet were not in place at the Bullinger’s grave site. But he says he will soon personally meet with the family to hear any other concerns they might have.

KHOU-TV did a public record check of Rosewood Cemetery and found no complaints or issues.

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