Manor cemetery mistake leaves 2 families searching for answers
A supposed paperwork error resulting in a cemetery plot mix-up has left two local families searching for answers.
Linda Boswell of Ford City said she owns the deeds to two burial plots next to the two plots where her parents are buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Manor. She said her father bought all four plots in 1974 when her mother died.
But one of those plots was sold in error to a Manorville family.
Boswell said when she visited her parents' graves in late winter she was shocked to discover someone had been buried in one of her reserved plots.
“When I went up to the cemetery in March, I saw this grave,” she said. “I got my deed and went down to the church.”
Boswell is a member of Christ, Prince of Peace church in Ford City.
“Somebody at the church made the mistake,” Boswell said.
Joseph Fichthorn of Manorville was buried in Boswell's reserved plot in December.
His daughter Lindsay Fichthorn said she paid $500 to the church for a grave site for her father.
“We wanted him to be buried as close as we could get to his parents,” she said.
But several months later, Linsday Fichthorn said her sister, Lisa Virostek,was confronted by Boswell at a local restaurant saying the family needed to move their father from where he had been buried.
Lindsay and Lisa's brother Greg Fichthorn said the Rev. Bryan Summers, pastor at Christ, Prince of Peace, apologized saying the mix-up was the result of a paperwork error. The error had occurred when records from one book were transferred to another book. According to Greg Fichthorn, Father Summers had originally told him they didn't need to move their father.
However, Greg Fichthorn said he received another call from Summers last week saying the family had no choice but to move their father to another part of the cemetery.
Summers did offer the family four new plots free of charge, said Greg Fichthorn. He said he can see Boswell's side of things but added that his family does not want to exhume their father and go through the painful ordeal of reburial.
“We just need the situation rectified as soon as possible for everyone's sake,” he said.
Boswell said she has sympathy for the Fichthorns but is very upset over the ordeal.
“I'm not the bad guy. I had nothing to do with it,” said Boswell. “We're both victims here. I want the thing resolved.”
Greg's brother, Michael Fichthorn, said there are ways to handle the situation with dignity.
He said he has concerns about whether or not Christ, Prince of Peace has oversold other plots.
“It's been very difficult. It's nothing any of us has had to deal with before,” he said.
Summers said the church is investigating the matter. He declined to discuss details about the situation citing confidentiality issues concerning the families involved. Summers said he will follow Pennsylvania law and rules and regulations regarding Catholic Cemeteries but declined to discuss the issue further.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Armstrong commissioners race growing each day
- Snow sculptures brighten family’s West Kittanning yard
- Water lines being replaced in Kittanning
- Armstrong industrial park taking steps to lure developers
- West Kittanning church fights through frozen pipe problems
- Ford City takes step toward hiring third full-time police officer
- Armstrong students slow to apply for scholarships
- Pizza, other sweet treats offered at new Worthington restaurant
- 1 killed in coal truck-car collision in Armstrong County
- Family, community, police seek closure in Distant deaths
- Armstrong school merger will result in job cuts