‘These Are Sacred Places’ Families Say Decorations At Gravesites In Beaver Continue Disappearing

BEAVER (KDKA) – During the holiday season, people said they’ve placed decorations on their family’s gravesites at Sylvania Hills Memorial Park but those decorations keep disappearing.

“I just bring things that I think they will like and things I like because it’s really the only place I can be with them,” Sandy Zachodni said.


This Christmas, Zachodni decorated her uncle, father, and grandparents’ graves with holiday crosses, but soon after two out of the three disappeared.


“These are sacred places and I think things should be left alone here, people don’t just bring things up here just because, they pay for them and it means something,” Zachodni said.


Mary Ann Irwin said she’s experienced the same problem.


“I put a handmade wreath up the day before Easter, and I came right before work on Monday morning immediately after Easter and it was already gone,” Irwin said.


While some believe the items are being taken by outsiders, a former cemetery worker said the company takes down the decorations each day and throws them out.


Sylvania Hills Memorial Park they released the following statement about these allegations:


“We empathize with client families who wish to add personal items to the graves of their loved ones; however, we have an obligation to those we serve to maintain a consistent standard of appearance and safety for visitors and workers. It is never our intention to upset or offend any client family. We care deeply for our families and strive to provide them with a peaceful and beautiful environment to remember their loved ones.”


There are signs at the entrance stating no decorations are allowed, but Irwin said that wasn’t always the case and older families should have a grandfather clause if changes to the rules are made.


“It’s just the only way you can do something for them now that they are gone. You have all these memories and you want to do something and these people just don’t let you do it,” Irwin said.


Between the two families, they want the opportunity to remember their loved ones with their own mementos and ask whoever is taking the decorations to stop.