December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Family says Avon cemetery’s lack of care for gravesites a ‘disgrace’

Linda Jones rights a vase that was knocked over at a gravesite that is water-logged Wednesday at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Linda Jones rights a vase that was knocked over at a gravesite that is water-logged Wednesday at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

AVON — Helen Weaver simply wants her feet to stay dry while walking on fresh-cut grass when she visits her deceased son Walter Taylor’s grave.

Taylor died after having a heart attack in his sleep in June 2013 at age 50. Weaver, 75, said she’s been given the runaround by the staff at Resthaven Memory Garden, 3700 Center Road, every time she has asked for grass to be planted on Taylor’s grave or for drainage issues to be resolved.

Fresh grass seed was laid on Taylor’s grave, but not on others without grass, sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon after The Chronicle-Telegram sought comment from Resthaven management.

Helen Weaver, right, with her daughter Linda Jones, stand in front of her son Walter Taylor's grave at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon, where grass recently was planted near the grave after The Chronicle-Telegram talked to the cemetery.

Helen Weaver, right, with her daughter Linda Jones, stand in front of her son Walter Taylor’s grave at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon, where grass recently was planted near the grave after The Chronicle-Telegram talked to the cemetery.

Resthaven manager Christy Keyes, who Weaver said she has talked with on numerous occasions, was unavailable for comment because she is out of work with an injury, but Resthaven area director Tedi Kallas said Keyes has put work orders in previously to address Weaver’s complaints.

Kallas said Weaver’s concerns will be addressed.

“It’s difficult for me to believe that she’s made the request and that nobody has done anything,” Kallas said. “But what matters is Mrs. Weaver’s perception. Whether they have or have not (addressed her concerns), I will get to the bottom of it and find out for sure.”

Weaver’s daughter, Linda Jones, 53, said she doesn’t understand why it’s taken 14 months to plant grass and even longer to tackle the drainage problems.

“It’s a disgrace out there,” Jones said. “We’ve made about 20 phone calls and we can’t get nowhere.”

Taylor’s grave isn’t the only one in such a condition. Other plots in the southwest section of the cemetery are submerged in water and have weeds overtaking headstones.

Recently, Weaver attempted to pull some weeds around a half-dead tree next to her son’s grave and her arm broke out in a rash after she inadvertently pulled poison ivy that was there.

Weaver said she paid about $6,000 to bury her son and purchase a headstone, and her family has paid similar amounts for the 10 other plots for other family members.

She said her family simply wants the back portion of the cemetery to be maintained like the front part is.

Weaver said other family members are buried in the well-maintained veterans’ section of the cemetery, and fallen Elyria police Officer James Kerstetter, who also is buried in the cemetery, has a properly landscaped grave.

“When you first pull in it’s very nice, especially where the policeman is, and I have no objections on the way they’ve got that all fixed up nice,” Weaver said. “But over in the back it’s neglected, absolutely neglected.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.