Sunday, June 17, 2007
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A northern Idaho woman says a funeral home cremated her husband without permission and in the process destroyed an artificial leg worth more than $7,000.
DeeDee Strimas also claims in a lawsuit that English Funeral Chapels & Crematory gave her the cremated remains of someone other than her husband.
She is suing for the value of the leg and for damages of more than $10,000 for “emotional and physical distress.” She suffers from “headaches, depression, insomnia accompanied by nightmares, and fear that the remains are not those of her late husband,” her lawsuit says.
John Strimas died on July 24, 2005, at age 62. He was a local doctor.
According to the lawsuit, a funeral home employee gave DeeDee Strimas a cremation authorization form three days later. But she said she later learned her husband’s remains had been cremated a day earlier.
The lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that the funeral home filled out paperwork reporting her husband had no prosthetics. But she said her husband was an amputee, and the lawsuit claims his prosthetic was either thrown away or cremated with his body.
“Plaintiff was assured that her husband’s body had been cared for, cleaned and prepared for cremation in reverent and respectful manner,” according to the lawsuit. “In fact, it appears as though he was cremated in the same clothes he had on when he died and that he was not carefully prepared and washed.”
The lawsuit contends that if employees had cleaned and prepared the body, they would have noticed the artificial leg.
Bruce English, owner of the funeral home, declined to comment to The Spokesman-Review. A call from The Associated Press on Saturday was not immediately returned.