More complaints about Tulare Cemetery in letter to District Manager regarding burial

Dear Clara,

I wish to give the management and members of the Tulare Public Cemetery District Board of Trustees an opportunity to accept this letter as my formal complaint and to take appropriate action to make matters right with respect to the burial. recent from my father (Ildebrando Almeida) dated June 24, 2022.

My family and I have been long standing reputable citizens and home owners in the city of Tulare for over 40 years and still counting. I have also owned a business in the city of Tulare for over 25 years. Both my grandparents are buried (two separate plots) in Tulare Public Cemetery and we recently laid to rest my father, Ildebrando Almeida. We bought another piece of land for my mother Almerinda Almeida who is currently living.

As a proud owner of a home and business in the city of Tulare, I am embarrassed, disgusted and appalled to even call our Tulare Public Cemetery a part of our community due to the disgraceful neglect and effort to improve the conditions of the cemetery grounds.

The cemetery was notified a week in advance and confirmed the date and time of our funeral. Knowing that we were to be there that day, you would think that your cemetery supervisor and ground guards would be experienced and competent in providing respectful intimate service and assisting our family with care and consideration in a dignified and enjoyable atmosphere. and maintaining the cemetery grounds. But instead, our family and guests experienced just the opposite.

  • The conditions of the grave where the ceremony took place were unworthy. The tombstone was dirty, tree branches had not been removed (we had to remove them ourselves) and long weeds were growing on my father’s and mother’s tombstone. Additionally, the surrounding headstones where the ceremony took place were also in poor condition. It was not a pleasant atmosphere.
  • There was a broken headstone next to the grave and it was placed on the unsecured ground next to where all of our family and guests were sitting and standing. Many of us, myself included, needed to go around. It was definitely a danger and whoever placed it there was very reckless and irresponsible.
  • We were told that a canopy would be provided and that it was part of the burial costs. But no awning was provided. When we asked the local grounds manager after the funeral service why there was no canopy, his response was because they used the tree for shade instead. Unbelievable!
  • There were holes all over the grass where you had to balance yourself every time you took a step (holes not related to gopher). Our elderly family and guests had to be helped to and from their car as they were afraid of falling and hurting themselves. Also, the eight (8) pallbearers told me that they were nervous about losing their balance and accidentally knocking the coffin over because they had such difficulty walking on the grass due to irregularities.

After the funeral service, we left the cemetery for the lowering of the coffin. Our family returned later that evening to pay our respects and we were shocked to discover the disrespectful condition of my father’s grave.

  • The handling of the grave was unprofessional and negligent. There was only a pile of dirt above the grave. It hadn’t been leveled and there were footprints embedded in the ground. It was evident that there had been no attempt to use any machine to level the earth or any attempt to level the earth before the flowers (4 easel flower arrangements, 1 coffin flower arrangement and two vases with flower arrangements) are carelessly thrown on the grave and destroyed. Some of the flowers were buried a few centimeters underground. It was a total shame!

Tulare Public Cemetery must be held accountable for failing to honor its mission to provide respectful intimate service and assist our family with care and consideration in a dignified and enjoyable atmosphere in our community where they serve in the district and maintain the grounds of the graveyard. Therefore, I request a full refund for the burial services at the cemetery that we paid for totaling $3,104.25 (receipt attached) and also a full refund for the flowers that were destroyed totaling of $1,599.86 (2 receipts attached). Our family did not consider it appropriate to request a receipt from our guests who purchased the flower vases. But I will if necessary. The total estimated purchase price for these 2 flower vases is $300. I look forward to hearing from Tulare Public Cemetery office management and/or board members within 10 business days regarding the resolution of this matter. If I do not receive a response or if this is not resolved in a timely manner, I will file a formal complaint with the California State Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Cemeteries and Funerals and also consider filing legal action.

Sincerely,

Anisabel Fernandes

CC: Tulare Public Cemetery District Board Members

  • James Pennington
  • carlos ramos
  • Stephan Present
  • Xavier Avila
  • Alberto Aguilar

Daniel E. Murphy