Pacific man questions cemetery rule after holiday wreath pulled from gravesite

AFFTON, Mo. – A removal fee rule at the Sunset Park Memorial Cemetery stirred up some controversy Wednesday night.

Jim Rimkus of Pacific said a holiday wreath was removed from a loved one’s grave just minutes after he and his brother placed it there on Tuesday.

“We observed on the way out that the wreaths were missing off the grave,” he said.

Rimkus said that’s when he immediately went to the main office.

“And I confronted them with it and they asked me if I had purchased tags,” he said.

The tags are $5. According to a cemetery supervisor, the rule is nothing new and that signs explaining this rule are posted on both sides of the entrance since last year.

“If you don’t have a tag then they immediately take the Christmas decorations off the graves and they lay them along this fence line and what happens to them after – that they did not tell me,” Rimkus said.

Rimkus admitted that he didn’t pay attention to the rule board.

“I was on a mission,” he said, “I’m kind of ignorant for driving by them, but who would have ever known, you know?”

Rimkus said he noticed the wreaths were missing about 10 minutes after he placed them on the site and is upset with the way it was handled.

“It’s the principle,” he said. “I think it’s disrespectful and I think it’s another way of possibly the cemetery extorting money from people.”

Rimkus said that he’s learned a valuable lesson and wants other families to take note.

“Read the signs when you enter cemeteries and pay attention to them,” he said.

The supervisor would not provide any more information than repeating what is posted on the rule board.

FOX 2/KPLR 11 was told the rule only applies during the holiday season and all holiday decorations are removed by February 15.