Families with loved ones buried at Royal Oak Cemetery in Brookville are demanding answers from the cemetery’s owner Stone Mor Partners regarding flooding at the cemetery after 2 NEWS aired a story in March about flooding issues at West Memory Gardens Cemetery in Moraine, another cemetery owned by the same company.
The family of Johnnie Smith says it’s been almost two years and still Stone Mor Partners has yet to fix the flooding issues at Royal Oak Cemetery.
“This is the last picture we had took together,” Johnnie Smith said. “This was our 60th anniversary.”
Smith’s reminiscing of the 60 years spent married to his wife, also named Johnie Smith.
Jordan: “What do you miss most about her?”
Johnnie: “Her being here with me. It’s just too hard.”
Every Sunday for the last two years, he’s visited her grave site. The hardest of days come when her grave stone is submerged in water–seen in photos Smith took. Sometimes the water is so murky they can barely make out her stone.
“I just hope nobody else,” Smith said. “Has to go through what I went through out there.”
Johnie’s granddaughter, Sierra Hetzler, feels the same pain.
“It’s just emotionally distressing on all of us,” Hetzler said. “Yes, it’s just her body there and her soul is in heaven, but it just devastates me.”
According to Stone Mor Partners’s website, they’re one of the largest companies in the death care industry and own more than 300 cemeteries is 27 states.
“As we continue to grow,” they write. “We will maintain our commitment to serving families locally with compassion, dignity and honesty.”
Smith says he’s yet to see compassion, dignity or honesty from the company.
“I just wish they had more respect,” Smith said. “For the people that’s buried out there then what they have.”
2 NEWS called the company Tuesday, and spoke with a representative, who says the company hasn’t been made aware of any complaints, however the Smith family says they’ve complained at least 4 times.
The cemetery’s Facebook page flooded with negative reviews, all raising concern over flooding.
“Lord, I hope this ain’t going to be like this,” Smith said. “All the time.”
The company representative 2 NEWS spoke with says he’s not aware of the Facebook reviews and has no comment at this time.
He also said they’re still working on fixing the flooding at the first cemetery we reported on, West Memory Gardens.