MINNEAPOLIS – Those closest to Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett are involved in a dispute over who should keep his cremated remains.
Puckett, 45, died March 6 at a hospital in Arizona after suffering a stroke a day earlier at his home in Scottsdale. His body was later cremated in the Twin Cities and his ashes have been kept at a local funeral home.
Attorneys are trying to agree on whether the former Minnesota Twin's ashes should be given to his two children, or divided in another manner, perhaps involving his fiancee, Jodi Olson, who was living with Puckett when he died.
Olson has said she and Puckett planned to wed in June. Puckett got divorced several years ago from Tonya Puckett, the mother of his children, Catherine and Kirby Jr.
Attorneys for both sides met Wednesday in Minneapolis but were unable to reach an agreement.
"This is just unbelievable," a frustrated Tonya Puckett said Wednesday, speaking on behalf of her children. "My kids have been through so much."
Olson's brother-in-law, Mike Jacobs, said "she has made a request for a portion of the remains."
Bridget Logstrom, a Minneapolis attorney representing Puckett's children, said if the issue isn't resolved in their favor by Friday, she'll file a petition in Maricopa County, Ariz., where Puckett's estate is in probate, by early next week.
"The children want their father's remains," Logstrom said.
William Brody, a Minneapolis attorney representing Brian Woods, the executor of Puckett's estate, said he is optimistic "it will get sorted out."
Puckett's will, filed in late March in Maricopa County, directed that his baseball memorabilia, insurance benefits, personal and household items and his "tangible personal property" go to his children. There was no written direction of what should happen with his ashes, attorneys said.
Logstrom said Woods, who is in charge of deciding most estate issues, "hasn't said what he'd do" regarding the ashes.
Woods, said Brody, "just wants to make sure it's handled in a responsible way."
Attorneys on both sides were trying to determine whether Minnesota or Arizona law applies to the case. Logstrom said her interpretation of Arizona law suggests the ashes should go to the children, Puckett's primary beneficiaries. But if Minnesota law applies because Puckett was cremated here, his siblings would have authority to decide, she said.
Logstrom said five of Puckett's six siblings have given written consent for the ashes to go to his children.
Shortly after Puckett died, Logstrom filed court papers asking that a special administrator be appointed to inventory the contents of Puckett's Scottsdale home and his cabin in St. Croix Falls, Wis.
That action was designed to keep Puckett's personal memorabilia from being lost, stolen or given away.