HURON – The daughters of a well-known former Huron couple are concerned that the cremains of their parents won’t be properly interred with markers at a memorial service they are planning at Restlawn Memory Gardens, based on dozens of complaints filed with the state by other cemetery clients.
Elaine Roth died at age 90 in late January in Spokane, Wash. Her husband, Ralph, died in 2014 at age 86. Years ago, the couple purchased cemetery plots and markers at Restlawn, south of Huron, and told their daughters that their final wish was to be buried alongside other family members.
Vicki Roth of Rochester, N.Y., and her sister, Valerie Roth Roubos of Spokane, want to order the markers so they can bring their parents’ cremains to Huron for a memorial service this summer.
They have learned about all of the complaints – 34 so far – and are concerned whether the markers will arrive in a timely manner.
“We definitely will order them,” Vicki Roth said. “Am I confident that we’re going to get them delivered? No.”
An investigation by the consumer protection division of the attorney general’s office is ongoing.
Some have complained to authorities that they have been waiting for months and, in some cases, for more than a year for markers they have paid for.
“I remain committed to making sure that their cremains aren’t buried in an unmarked grave,” Vicki Roth said of her parents.
“And I am concerned about the long-term care and maintenance of the cemetery, given that the owner is in Iowa and may not be solvent,” she said.
She said the attorney general’s office told her they have been in touch with the owner’s attorney.
“My parents both purchased plots, vaults and markers at Restlawn some years back,” Roth said. “My sister and I have the original copies documenting this purchase.”
Also buried there are her grandparents and an aunt and uncle.
Roth was a business and accounting professor at Huron College from 1967 to 1984. He then taught at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell until he retired at age 79. He was the recipient of many teaching awards during his career.
He was a member of the Huron Kiwanis and also served as a probation officer. Roth was also known as a strong proponent of bicycle safety in the community.
Vicki and Valerie Roth grew up in Huron. Vicki graduated from Huron College and Valerie graduated from the University of Wyoming.
Last summer, the Beadle County state’s office began getting phone calls from clients of Restlawn, complaining that they had been waiting six months to more than a year for markers and headstones for loved ones buried at the cemetery.
The Plainsman attempted to contact Restlawn Memory Garden for comment, at the listed telephone number, but calls were not returned.
State’s Attorney Mike Moore has said his office has been referring callers to the attorney general’s office, which opened an investigation that remains ongoing.
He is not pursuing the matter simultaneously because it is a consumer protection issue.
Vicki Roth said because of the fact that other family members are buried at Restlawn and her parents want to be next to them, it’s not a matter of cutting their financial losses and purchasing plots in another Huron cemetery.
“It’s mom and dad’s wishes to be there,” she said of Restlawn. “I’m trying to honor my parents’ wishes.”