Sparwood family requests spot in common grave

The Cederholm family of Sparwood has made a request to council that the cremated remains of their father be placed alongside their mother.

The Cederholm family of Sparwood has made a request to council that the cremated remains of their father be placed alongside their mother in a common grave.

The unusual request requires a Rivercrest Cemetery Bylaw that limits a cremation grave space to two cremated remains be waived so that Ken Cederholm’s remains may be interred alongside his late wife, Joan.

The common grave was created in November 1999 when the District of Sparwood obtained a permit to inter 16 unclaimed cremated remains at Rivercrest Cemetery.

Unfortunately, the grave was not supplied with a legend or mapping to indicate the placement order of the remains.

Following the death of Mr. Cederholm, the family came to the realization that Mrs. Cederholm was one of the unmarked 16. That is when the exhumation of the remains was requested.

Jerry Cederholm, son of Ken and Joan, said that the family was unaware that Mrs. Cederholm was buried at the cemetery following her death in 1981.

“My mom had wanted her ashes spread with my uncle in a creek in Alberta,” explained Jerry.

But, according to Jerry, the family only realized their mother was at Rivercrest seven months ago, through an online search on the Internet.

Upon exhumation, district staff found that metal identification tags had not been inserted to identify which cremains belonged to whom, and the paper tags that were in use had deteriorated to the point that the names were not legible.

Due to the turn of events that made identification impossible to transfer Mrs. Cederholm out of the common grave, council agreed at the November 15 meeting to allow the bylaw to be waived.

The family has also generously offered to pay for a grave marker listing the names of all those interred in the common grave.

“We wanted to do that and to find a plaque that could commemorate my mom and my dad, but also the names of the others in the grave,” said Jerry.

Coun. Margaret McKie questioned whether this was a single exception for the family or if council could expect further waives in relation to the Cederholm’s situation.

“This is a unique situation,” assured Chief Administrative Officer Terry Melcer. “We have a common grave that arose from a situation where the funeral home had cremains that were not picked up and the family would like the cremains of their parents placed together,” she said.