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Mar 12, 2016 10:30 PM

Abandoned cremated remains laid to rest in Manchester


MANCHESTER - Music fills the mausoleum at Mt. Calvary Cemetery and at the graves are flowers and pictures of the people who have died.

Sometimes, after families request cremation of a loved one, they don't always come back to get their ashes -- that led to Saturday's special Mass to lay these forgotten individuals to rest.

“After the cremation takes place we notify them that their loved one is ready for pick-up and we never get a call back,” said Roger Gosseli, Funeral Director Phaneuf Funeral home. “We try and we try, there’s phone numbers but sometimes we just come to a dead end."

Every second Saturday a Mass is held at the mausoleum to honor those who've died, but Saturday's ceremony was specifically for remains that had been left behind.

"They had people in their lives their whole life, and for some reason they were forgotten" said Manchester resident Christine Duffley, who was involved in the ceremony.

Most of the urns come from Phaneuf Funeral Home in the city. The oldest dates back to 1976. After thirty days, the funeral homes can properly dispose of the ashes but Gosseli says he feel that would be immoral.

“We don’t feel right just taking their loved one, and you know scattering them somewhere or something like that, so we just held onto them hoping that hopefully their loved one comes by," he said.

But their families, never did. Two other funeral homes in Manchester, Lambert Funeral Home and Crematory as well as Connor Healy Funeral Home and Cremation Center, also bring forgotten urns.

Reading the names of the 59 forgotten people, one of those on the list is Marjorie Ash of Portsmouth who died in 2014. NH1 News reached out to one of her relatives who lives in California. He was surprised to hear Ash's remains had never been claimed, saying he thought she was already buried in Maine.

"I was much shocked, like I said, I thought she was buried somewhere," said Michael Eldridge. Eldridge grew up in Portsmouth and said he has fond memories of his Aunt Margie.

As bagpipes play in the background, the service comes to an end.

“We just want to say we haven’t forgotten you" said Duffley. "We would honor people that had no one to put them to rest”


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