BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — A family of three whose urns were found at a senior living facility were laid to rest with full military honors. Two of them were veterans.
Burying the family together was not an easy task, but a community was determined to make it happen.
The Coumoutseas family will rest side-by-side at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery. The funeral for Stella, her husband, Theodore, and their son Earnest was made possible by the people who could not bear to separate them, even in death.
“We hurt when this happens, so this is closure for all of us,” said Tammy Wilp, apartment manager.
The family’s ashes were found abandoned in three urns in Clark Towers Senior Living in April 2020, after their other son, who was holding onto them, died.
Wilp didn’t know who to give the ashes to, as there were no other living relatives. She called Rev. Grace Thompson, who became the guardian of the remains.
“I talked to them as if they were my own mom, dad and brother,” Thompson shared with 8 News Now. “I hope you rest in peace and enjoy your new fantastic journey.”
When the reverend realized Theodore and Earnest were veterans, she called several cemeteries. Some told her to throw Stella’s ashes away, but that was not an option for Thompson.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars group stepped in to help one of their own.
“It doesn’t work that way with me. Everyone needs to be laid to rest and honored,” said Rev. Carlton Fogg Jr., Nevada state chaplain for the veterans’ group. “She served as much as her family did because she was a military spouse.”
They paid the $450 fee to make sure Stella gets to rest with her husband and son. They organized every detail of Tuesday’s funeral, making sure the military family gets the recognition they deserve for their service.
Since the urns were found, Thompson’s church now has a program called “Womb to Tomb.” If anyone comes across abandoned urns, they will help give them a proper resting place.