The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 13, 2012

Search for family ashes comes up empty

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Despite a 10-man search of her house at 5746 Main Ave., Peggy Keyes Burns is without her father-in-law’s ashes and flag, but she’s grateful for the kindness of others.

Her father-in-law, Daniel Burns Jr., was cremated at Ducro Funeral Services, and his ashes were kept in a box in the front livingroom of the house. The house has since been vacated and readied for demolition by the city.

Darrin Demshar of Demshar Environmental in Jefferson, the company in charge of demolishing the house, read of Peggy Burns’ anguish over the thought of losing the ashes which were inadvertently left behind in the house.

Early Friday morning, he sent 10 men to the house to look for the box of ashes, to no avail.

“They tried and that means a lot,” said Burns, 62.

She cried at the loss of the ashes and still gets emotional when she thinks about the house being razed.  With the house re-opened, she climbed up the front steps to take a peek inside and broke down in tears.

“It’s all gone,” she said, acknowledging the house needs to be demolished.

Daniel Burns Jr., bought the house for her husband, who is in Oklahoma caring for his elderly mother. She now lives on Fern Avenue.

She was fond of her father-in-law, who was a World War II Army veteran. Her husband asked her to try to find the ashes.

Larry Burns could not be reached for comment.

City officials said they gave the Burns every opportunity to get their belongings.

Peggy Burns said the neighbor wouldn’t let her in the house. She was afraid of the neighbor. In addition, she fell and broke her toes and some ribs, she said.

Housing official Mary Church said she doesn’t know what more the city could have done for Burns.

The house soon will be demolished, she said.