DETROIT (WXYZ) — "He was proud to serve his country," Rose Moore said about her uncle, a World War II veteran, who was 106-years-old when he died last week. But Albert Robinson had no intention on being buried at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.
Albert wanted to be buried next to his late wife, Gladys, who died 20 years ago when she was 89.
Rose said her uncle didn't just prepay for his own funeral and burial services, Albert had planned every detail. "He knew how he wanted it done. He knew who he wanted invited to the service," said Rose. "He picked out his suit, his shirt. He picked everything."
So, Rose and the rest of the family were stunned when they went to Hutchison Funeral Home in Detroit last week and were told that Albert, a retired Chrysler worker, had only paid for a funeral service and not a burial.
"The whole family was upset," Rose told 7 Action News Friday. And on her dining room table, Rose laid out her uncle's 1999 contract with the funeral home, two canceled checks and receipts that totaled $12,862.00, over $6,000 for each of them.
And the handwritten contract was detailed, line by line. At the top, funeral and burial costs for Mrs. Robinson and, at the bottom, "Prepaid for Mr. Robinson" was written along with an itemized list of the items he prepaid for his own funeral.
And Hutchison Funeral Home charged them each $1,600 for Evergreen Cemetery. Rose said no one at the funeral home could explain why they were now being told that they would now have to pay for her uncle's burial.
"I understand it costs more 20 years later," Rose said. And a contract is a contract. "All I'm asking is just do right by my uncle," she said.
Rose said the folks at Evergreen Cemetery told her that they never received that money from Hutchison Funeral Home, telling her they only received payment for her aunt Gladys in 1999.
Rose said she went to the funeral home to talk to Joseph Hutchison Sr. and she was told that her uncle only prepaid for his funeral and not his burial.
Action News spoke to Hutchison and one of his sons Friday and presented them with photos of Robinson's old receipts and the contract. And Joseph Hutchison Jr. said there has been a misunderstanding and they would make things right for Albert Robinson's family.
An employee at the cemetery told Action News that their manager and other employees were so saddened by the situation that they would chop their usual costs by more than 50% to help resolve the situation.
Cemetery workers said they could do a double depth burial which would allow for Albert and Gladys to be buried next to each other, one on top of the other.
Rose said her family will be pleased that her uncle and aunt will soon be together again.
Prepaid services are regulated by the State of Michigan. If consumers believe there is a violation of state law related to prepaid funeral services, they can contact LARA’s Bureau of Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing by clicking here or calling 517-241-7000.