November 22, 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. 


  • Miranda Wolters-Dickerson

    My Aunt had my Uncle moved out of there because of this water problem. My grandfather is in the veteran section and it’s very maintained.

  • Deirdre Kewer Herbert

    I was out there yesterday visiting my Son’s grave also and was upset with the standing water, overgrown grass covering beautiful grave markers, and even observed broken flower containers on various graves……as if someone took a riding lawn mower through the area and did not take the time to lower the vases!
    It makes me very sad to see such state of conditions when you purchase these plots for your Loved One to be buried and then find deplorable conditions when you visit the grave site. The Loss of a Love One is sometimes unbearable in and of itself…..but to display the lack of regard for proper upkeep of said grounds and graves is an insult.

  • stargazer2012

    Rest Haven ….. Listen up!! Not good for business or your reputation! Get it fixed quickly!

  • Jeff

    Absolute DISGRACE !!! Resthaven should be very ashamed and beg for forgiveness from the families

  • tlil

    my mom’s grave stone has sunken down on one end. it is sad to see the state of these grave sites.

  • J. Mack

    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.” AS A FORMER EMPLOYEEE OF THE CEMETARY, I CAN ASSURE YOU MS. KALLAS, THAT MRS. WEAVER’S ‘PERCEPTION’ IS PROBABLY VERY VALID!!!! COUNTLESS WORK ORDERS GO IN AND STILL THE CONDITION STAYS THE SAME. IT’S VERY FRUSRATING BECAUSE THE OFFICE STAFF IS USUALLY WHO HAS TO DEAL WITH THE ANGRY (AND RIGHTFULLY SO) FAMILIES. IN THE PAST, SOME OF THE STAFF HAS EVEN PLEADED TO THE CORPORATE LEVEL….ONLY TO BE TOLD THAT WE NEED TO JUST CONCERN OURSELVES WITH SIMPLY SELLING. DISGRACEFUL!

  • Liane Shields

    I visited my Dad’s grave in the Veterans Garden and the ground was very wet and that’s a raised area. Disgusting!!

  • Marcia Allen

    I also am very disgusted with the conditions at Rest Haven. The drainage is terrible and the grounds are deplorable. I have had to go there and complain several times about the conditions. The groundskeepers (lawn mowing company) speeds through the cemetery running over whatever is in it’s way. Twice they have replaced the vase and it’s base on our marker from the damages. I even had to have them raise the marker stone because one end of it sank deeply into the mud while the other was raised off the ground. Now I am told they are going to change the little A-framed chapel that has stained glass windows and upgrade it with vinyl siding and metal doors! Really -it will look like another maintenance shed. There is no rest or peace-of-mind for the family members who visit their departed loved ones. Every time I go to visit, I leave with a feeling of deep regret and sadness and it only appears to be getting worse.

  • Kristi

    I too, many times have complained about the conditions regarding my Dad’s grave. They always have an excuse. He passed away almost three years ago and there still isn’t any grass there. His grave is almost always under water and his stone is now sinking. We have placed many items on his stone, only to not find them there when we return. The office always seems to place the blame on someone else, such as the maintenance workers. I agree that they really need to get these problems fixed. As if losing my Dad wasn’t hard enough!

  • Patty Roysden Hart

    It is a DISGRACE!!!!! My son is also laid to rest there, his grave is covered with water and needs more grass planted!!!!! What can be done about this? They dont care, all they want is your money! My sons marker laid by the maintenance building for 2 WEEKS before they put it on his grave, waiting to be paid more money because the marker was bigger than what they ordered! Also we complained the angel we placed on my sons grave was missing…found it in a barrel by maintenance building broken! WHAT CAN WE DO????????

  • Jamie Smith

    SHAME on you Rest Haven !!! Address these complaints from these numerous grieving Family’s. How sad for them to see these graves in these conditions. Rest Haven once had a great reputation when it was owned by a local family and not sold to the big corporation that only wants the money.

  • Jamie Smith

    Oops forgot to say…..Hat off to you Jon Wysochanski for great coverage of this story. Get these Family’s some justice.