Family, business in grave dispute

When Betty Herman talks about her parents, she can’t help but shed a tear.

“Mother and Daddy were about the best parents you could have,” she says. “They were well-loved in this community.”

You can understand, then, why she and her eight brothers and sisters were upset to find her parents’ graves in the middle of a construction zone earlier this year.

Her parents, Oscar and Catherine Herman, have rested just off Startown Road in Newton since about 1992 and 1979, respectively. However, their final resting place may soon change because of a dispute between the Hermans and Jenkins Funeral Home and Cremation Services where they are buried.

Jenkins, which owns and operates a funeral home and cemetery at 4081 Startown Road, is in the process of building a 3,559-square-foot addition to its building.

In early March, the Herman family discovered one of the addition’s new walls will be located about 12 inches from their loved ones' footstones.  Two of the family’s infant nieces who died in a car crash in 1965 are also buried alongside the Herman plot at Jenkins.   

“Our other sister went to put flowers on the girls’ graves and saw what was going on,” Betty Herman said. “He didn’t contact anybody about it.
We are upset that our parents’ grave is being disrespected. Our parents have been in that community all their life and helped build the original church.”

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.