Complaints mount against Clemmons cemetery

On Your Side

CLEMMONS, N.C. — Three different families mourning their loved ones that share similar complaints against Westlawn Gardens of memory in Clemmons.

Teresa Williams waited for months for her husband’s nameplate to be installed. She told FOX8, “when I went out there in November and it still wasn’t up, I was livid. They told me, ‘Well Ms. Williams, we’ve had a lot of deaths this year.’ You’re in the death business and you’re telling me you can’t put his nameplate up?”

Pamela Mueller says the grounds are not kept up to basic standards. She said, “The fence is broken in two spots. There are eyesores. Trees dead and leaning over.”

And Tony Perkins says Westlawn administrators told him it would only take six weeks, but instead didn’t even order his mother-in-law’s gravestone until months after her burial. So Perkins built a cross to temporarily mark the grave.

He is a retired Winston-Salem police sergeant. It didn’t take much investigating for him to find others with complaints against Westlawn too.

Perkins told us, “Very similar issues and it was just troubling because families should not have to go through that at this time.”

All of these families agree that more should be done to protect their loved ones’ final resting place.

Mueller said, “Whomever owns the cemetery needs to be invested more.”

In 2018, this cemetery in Clemmons became part of Park Lawn Corporation. It’s a large, publicly-traded corporation in Canada operating cemeteries there and across the U.S. We took our questions to the director of operations, Damon Melcho. Melcho acknowledged the problems and said, “We talk about customer service all of the time. My goal is perfection… we want to be better next time.”

So how do you prevent this from happening to you? Make burial plans ahead of time so that you can ask questions. How many staff members maintain the grounds? Will the cemetery provide a written timeline of what you can expect after burial? Ask about payment policies.

If you need to file a complaint against a cemetery, you can do so at nccemetery.org.

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