Rupert woman fighting to get upright headstone for mother's grave

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RUPERT, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A Rupert woman is speaking up over what she's calling “ridiculous behavior” by the Minidoka, Acequia, Rupert Cemetery District.

Jill Dunn addresses the Minidoka, Acequia, Rupert Cemetery District board members on Thursday in Rupert. (Source: KMVT)

“After almost 5 months, it's hard now to know what to say,” said Jill Mahler Dunn, during the monthly meeting of the MAR Cemetery District Thursday morning. "Other than to express my utter disappointment in the lack of response and integrity of the board and employees of the MAR Cemetery District."

Dunn purchased an upright headstone for her mother who suddenly died in May. They already owned seven plots and they wanted loved ones could be remembered with one headstone.

“There was some urgency behind it, because we we're told that no matter what type of headstone we ordered, that there was going to be a 20% increase because of the tariffs going on,” Dunn said.

Magdalene Bryngelson with the cemetery district explained what happened next.

“Our sextant had been discussing with the family about burying their mother, and they wanted to bury her in a section of the cemetery that in our rules state is for the flat stones only,” Bryngelson stated.

However, an upright headstone was already in place for another grave.

Dunn said she tried for months to get into contact with the board members for an explanation.

“We made several inquiries, we could never get all three names of the board members, and we could not get their phone numbers," Dunn said. "We asked the sextant several times, even in texts if he had phone numbers for them. We never heard back."

The cemetery district eventually decided to take down the upright headstone, however, the family of that headstone may not have been notified.

“We had tried to contact them, but of that particular family, there are no relatives left that we could find to contact. That's what my understanding was,” Bryngelson said.

Dunn is still demanding answers though.

“My main issue is that I would have chose differently if they would have just let me know from their June meeting," she said. "I would have gotten a large flat one, and I would have had what my dad picked for the design. Today, they finally placed my mom’s out there, in August, three months after she passed away. And it's not what my dad chose."

At the end of the meeting, the board members of the cemetery district said they would take Dunn’s statements in consideration.

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