Published August 17, 2012
A Michigan family will reportedly receive an $80,000 settlement from a funeral home whose staff they say dropped their mother’s coffin, causing her body to fall to the ground prior to her funeral.
WoodTV.com reports that staff from the Ivy K. Gillespie Funeral Home in Grand Rapids was removing the casket carrying Ellnora James’ body in November 2010 when the coffin somehow fell and broke open. James’ body then fell to the ground, which was witnessed by some relatives outside the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church.
"This is the last time you get to show your respects for your loved ones," said Dean Libbett, James' son. "There was no respect and there was no dignity and there was no remorse for what happened."
Libett said relatives knew something was wrong when funeral staff contacted the family asking for new clothing for James. Funeral staff told him, he said, that there was a spill.
"Not saying that the spill was my mother," Libbett told the website.
Crystal Whittington, a representative with the Ivy K. Gillespie Funeral Home, said funeral home staff apologized to the family. She declined further comment.
"We truly, truly, truly apologize," Whittington said.