HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kaneohe cemetery apologized and offered a refund to a man whose mother's grave marker and flower vase have still not been installed nearly nine months after he paid more than $20,000 to have her buried there.
"What's supposed to be here at this point is another marker like my grandparents, right next to my grandparents' plot, which is where my mom is laid to rest," said Sean Hall, who grew up in Makiki but now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He showed Hawaii News Now the patch of grass at Hawaiian Memorial Park where his mother is buried.
Maureen "Dolly" Hall, 79, died suddenly of a heart attack last May and she was buried at the cemetery May 31.
Sean Hall was disappointed when he arrived home last week and took flowers to his mother's grave site only to find the $500 flower vase and granite grave marker that he'd paid $3,000 for were not installed yet.
"Almost nine months. It was a surprise to me. Frustrating to me," Hall said.
Hall said he called his mortuary sales representative three times Tuesday and once again on Wednesday, and got no call back, so he left a message for a supervisor last Thursday.
"I did get a call back from the supervisor on that day and he had told me he was going to get back with my by 5 that afternoon. He was going to do some research. I have not heard back from him," Hall said Wednesday morning.
Then Friday night, Hall received a phone message from his sales representative who apologized for not calling him back sooner.
"Trying to track where the status of your mom's marker is," the woman said in a voice mail Friday night. "I'm just asking for a little bit more patience as far as getting a true answer for you." She said she'd call him back on Saturday but as of Wednesday morning, Hall said he had not heard back from her.
So Hall called Hawaii News Now and asked for help getting some answers.
"People that have lost someone dear to them probably know the feeling of wanting to have completion with your loss," Hall said. "And having to still go through this and have it be as incomplete as this is upsetting."
Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery's location manager arrived at the grave site while Hawaii News Now was interviewing Hall and told our news crew to stop shooting video on private property.
Reporter Keoki Kerr explained to the location manager, Justin Soriano, "His mom was buried here on May 31st, he paid for everything. But there's still no headstone, there's still no vases and that kind of thing..."
Hall told the manager how employees failed to call him back.
Within an hour and a half, the cemetery apologized to Hall and said it would reimburse him $4,193 and still install a grave marker and a flower vase on his mother's grave site. Hall said he paid about $22,000 in total for mortuary services, which included transporting his mother's body back from Phoenix, where she lived.
"I am sorry we did not order your mother's marker on time," wrote Justin Soriano, location manager for Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery in an email to Hall Wednesday afternoon. "We are installing the vase for your mother today. Again sorry for all the inconvenience.
Hall said he didn't want a refund, he just wanted a completed marker and vase for her grave.
Representatives of the cemetery did not return Hawaii News Now's messages left in person, via email and by phone.
Hall's late mother was well known in Hawaii's restaurant industry. She spent much of her career working for the kamaaina Spencecliff restaurant chain. She retired as an assistant manager at Fisherman's Wharf restaurant at Kewalo Basin but worked at Trader Vic's in Waikiki and the Ranch House restaurant in Aina Haina before that.